|Town/Region||Amani Nature Reserve|
|Country||Tanzania, United Republic of|
|Categories||Biodiversity, Birds, Plants|
|Date||11 Jun 2019|
The population of bird pollinators are drastically declining due to forest fragmentation but their roles and contribution in pollination are not well understood to encourage their conservation. The Eastern Arc Mountain hotspot is one of the most endangered biodiversity hotspots in the world. More than 50% of its original forest cover has been cleared for cultivation of intensively managed tea plantations and traditional shifting agriculture. Little is known, however, how this habitat alteration affects avian pollinators, particularly the sunbird species that used to be plenty in tropical forest ecosystems. This study intends to understand ecology of avian pollinators in this fragmented tropical ecosystem in the East Usambara Mountains. The abundance and activities of sunbird species and assess their pollination interactions in traditional farmlands as well as undisturbed forest areas will be evaluated and compared. This study will highlight the importance of sunbird pollination in agriculture and forest conservation. It will show how different types of farming activities can impact pollinator abundance and how this, in turn, can affect plant success and food security for small-scale farmers. To accomplish this, we shall use point transects, by assessing vegetation and bird species and their interactions over two years.
A total of 24 transects of 500 x 10 m each will be established. Twelve transects per each habitat, natural forest and farmland. Sunbird-Flower visitors will be assessed by walking in 500 x 10 transects from 6.00- 8.00 and from 16.00- 18.00 to identify which flowering plant is preferred by sunbirds. The observer will use 10 min to observe, identify and record the number of visitor to every identified flowering plant using a pair of binocular for clear identification.
Nectar quantification and energy evaluation, Nectar volume and concentration will be measure using micropipette (µl) and handheld refractometer from ten flower buds bagged before anthesis, randomly picked from each sunbird preferred plant species from each quadrant from each habitat category. Nectar volume and concentration will be used to calculate the amount of energy available per each sunbird preferred flower plant species and per each habitant category (1 mg = 4 calories). We will interview at least six farm owners from the surrounding of each transect, which will make a total of about 72 farmers for all transects. Also, we will interview village executive officers (VEO) of of Amani, Mbomole and ABC and Msasa as experts. The interviews will complement our findings through observations and show the importance of sunbirds to farmers.
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