The value of shifting cultivation for biodiversity in Northeast India

Borah, Joli R., Gilroy, James J. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7597-5780, Evans, Karl L. and Edwards, David P. (2022) The value of shifting cultivation for biodiversity in Northeast India. Diversity and Distributions, 28 (9). pp. 1979-1992. ISSN 1366-9516

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Abstract

Aim: Shifting cultivation is a widespread land-use in many tropical countries that also harbours significant levels of biodiversity. Increasing frequency of cultivation cycles and expansion into old-growth forests have intensified the impacts of shifting cultivation on biodiversity and carbon sequestration. We assessed how bird diversity responds to shifting cultivation and the potential for co-benefits for both biodiversity and carbon in such landscapes to inform carbon-based payments for ecosystem service (PES) schemes. Location: Nagaland, Northeast India. Methods: We surveyed above-ground carbon stocks and bird communities across various stages of a shifting cultivation system and old-growth forest using composite carbon sampling plots and repeated point counts directly overlaying the carbon plots in both summer and winter. We assessed species diversity using species accumulation and rarefaction curves based on Hill numbers. We fitted a linear mixed-effect model to assess the relationship between species richness and fallow age. We also examined possible co-benefits between carbon and biodiversity from fallow regeneration in terms of relative community similarity to old-growth forest across carbons stocks. Results: Farmland and secondary forests regenerating on fallowed land had similar bird species richness to old-growth forests in summer and relatively higher species richness in winter. Within regenerating fallows, we did not find any strong evidence that fallow age influenced bird species richness. Bird community resemblance to old-growth forest increased with secondary forest maturity, correlating also with carbon stocks in summer. However, bird community assemblage did not show a strong association with habitat types and carbon stocks during winter. Main conclusions: This study underscores the important role of traditional non-intensive shifting cultivation in providing refuges for biodiversity within heterogeneous habitat mosaics. Effectively managing these landscapes is crucial for both biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration in the subtropics.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the local communities from Kiphire, Kohima and Phek districts in Nagaland, India for granting permission for the research and access to their land and the State Forest Department, Nagaland, India for help with logistics. This research would not have been possible without the help from the local consultants, Alemba Yimchunger, Limthure Yimchunger, Limtemung Yimchunger, Lomtemung Yimchunger, Wizho, Sushil, Tinisile, Seko, Kedo, Saphre, Roko, Vikho, Mosa, Taziko, Yuhumo, Mosa, Ikuru, Bijay, Koimu, Puhaju, Lichizu, Aabhijo, Avi Khatte, S. Thuchu Raja, Athong, Jakob and Kiusang. We also thank David Farrow, Paul Elsen, Craig Robson, Umesh Srinivasan, and Werzik for their help in identifying unknown bird calls. We are grateful to Lansothung Lotha and Pezanienuo Chileie for translating the abstract to Nagamese. Finally, we thank Dominic Martin and two anonymous reviewers for their useful feedback on the manuscript. This research was possible due to funding from the Adapting to the Challenges of a Changing Environment Doctoral Training Partnership (ACCE DTP; Grant no X/008681‐12‐7).
Uncontrolled Keywords: bird diversity,carbon-biodiversity co-benefits,community composition,payment for ecosystem services (pes),species accumulation,swidden cultivation,ecology, evolution, behavior and systematics,sdg 15 - life on land ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2022 16:31
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 00:50
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/89731
DOI: 10.1111/ddi.13605

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