A new study on woodlands in agricultural landscapes near Protected Areas in Meghalaya highlights the importance of
woodlands surrounding forested Protected Areas to maintain the ecological functioning of bird communities.
Woodlands in agricultural lands surrounding a forested Protected Area support multiple guilds of a wintering bird community, a new study finds. The results provide insights into the role of mixed agricultural–forest landscapes in the conservation of different facets of biodiversity.
This study builds on the premise that while efforts to protect biodiversity in tropical forests have largely relied on the establishment of Protected Areas (PAs), there are limits to how much PAs can expand, and thus there is need to also evaluate agricultural land-uses for their potential to supplement biodiversity conservation. The paper titled “In a tree by the brook, there’s a songbird who sings”: Woodlands in an agricultural matrix maintain functionality of a wintering bird community explores the potential of an agricultural landscape in Meghalaya to support a wintering bird community. It is the result of a Master’s thesis by the lead author, who is a student of the Post-Graduate program in Wildlife Biology and Conservation, a joint program by the Wildlife Conservation Society India Program and the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore.
The study was conducted by Mr. Biang La Nam Syiem of the Wildlife Conservation Society India Program, National Centre for Biological Sciences and Centre for Wildlife Studies; and Dr. Divya Vasudev and Dr. Varun R. Goswami of the Wildlife Conservation Society India Program, Centre for Wildlife Studies and Conservation Initiatives. It appears in the international journal PLOS ONE.
The study uses a guild-based framework––that is a framework whereby bird species with similar characteristics are grouped together––to investigate the effects of vegetation structure and proximity to a PA in influencing the use of woodlands in agricultural lands surrounding the PA by the wintering bird community. It also investigates changes in species composition between the agricultural lands and the PA in the landscape. The study area covered approximately 100 square kms in the Nongkhyllem landscape, located in Ri-Bhoi District of Meghalaya, Northeast India. The area included the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary and Reserve forest, agro-forests, agricultural lands and community-managed forests. Occupancy models were used to understand habitat–bird relationships and predict site use. The study was conducted between November 2015 and May 2016.
The study found that multiple guilds of the bird community used the various sites surveyed in the landscape. Interestingly, tree cover did not limit the use of sites by some guilds as much as shrub and bamboo cover, probably due to already high tree cover. It also found that species richness of birds was higher in the agricultural lands than in the PA; however, specialised species such as hornbills and large woodpeckers may lose out in lands outside PAs.
The study provides insights into the effects of different components of vegetation structure on bird communities in wooded land-use types in agricultural landscapes. It also highlights the importance of woodlands surrounding forested Protected Areas in maintaining the ecological functioning of bird communities. The authors recommend that land-managers promote the prevailing wooded land-use types, such as recovering secondary forests, community-managed forests and betel leaf cultivation forests, due to their high predicted value in supporting multiple bird guilds.
8 ft 1 tall Sultan Kösen from Turkey is a rare specimen – the tallest over 8 ft tall man alive on planet Earth today according to the Guinness World Records.
Sultan currently also holds the record for largest hands 28.5 cm (11.22 in) from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger and the second largest feet – his left foot measuring 36.5 cm (1 ft 2 in) and right foot measuring 35.5 cm (1 ft 1.98 in).
Guinness World Records has come across only about ten people above 8 ft over the past 20 years but Sultan is the only such person alive today.
Born on 10 December 1982, Sultan was like an average child till the age of 10, even the other members of his family, including his parents and four siblings were ‘normal’ in terms of size.
But suddenly Sultan started growing uncontrollably fast due to a condition called “pituitary gigantism” which accounts for over-production of growth hormone and its spread from the pituitary gland in the brain. This invariably leads to large hands, thickening of the bones and painful joints. Due to his extreme size, Sultan had to face many ups and downs in life. Because of his gigantic height Sultan couldn’t finish school, could never find fitting clothes or shoes and found it extremely hard to fit into a regular-size car.
On the other hand because of his height he was found to be good at changing bulbs or hanging curtains.
Sultan Kösen today is recognized everywhere around the globe because of his extraordinary height and invited to star in a number of Hollywood movies.