|Town/Region||Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad|
|Date||2 Apr 2015|
Tanks and ponds in agricultural landscapes are commonly created for irrigation across large parts of Asia. Despite heavy human use, they are important breeding and wintering grounds for resident and migratory water bird species. These human-created island systems are unique in that they may actually augment landscape biodiversity.
Understanding their dynamics is thus essential for comprehensive global conservation planning. The artificial wetlands of peninsular India provide an excellent case study for investigating the community assembly processes of islands and the potential for human-made habitats to contribute to conservation.
The study will integrate island biogeography models and meta-population theory to provide quantitatively robust answers to a series of questions, and the findings of the study will have direct relevance to bird conservation and wetland management in human dominated agrarian landscapes. Ultimately this study will be used to determine how the size, connectivity, and spatial configuration of wetlands contribute to the maintenance of meta-populations of bird species.
On a broader level, there is a severe dearth of knowledge on diversity and dynamics of managed tropical wetlands such as tanks and ponds. High in number and distributed widely, tanks are unprotected and are continuously subjected to a multitude of human uses. Yet, they harbour high biodiversity. This study can shed light on how human-made wetlands, if managed effectively, can be beneficial to humans and other species alike.
A primary outcome is quantification of avian biodiversity of wetlands in the semi-arid agricultural landscape of India and providing solutions to better manage the wetlands for both birds and humans. Another key outcome is building a stakeholder and volunteers community who would actively conserve wetland habitats and water birds. As tanks and ponds are numerous and unprotected, a strong enthusiastic local volunteer community can greatly help in preserving the habitats and increasing our knowledge about the systems. This work is intended to be the first step towards setting up a long-term monitoring project on wetland birds in the area. The data from the study will help fill the knowledge gap on tropical managed wetlands and augment our understanding of dynamics of the human created island systems.
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