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UNIT 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Conservation biology and It's scope
The conservation biology is the special branch of biology which deals with mainly the
biodiversity of our ecosystems. It concerns with maintenance, loss and restoration study of
biodiversity. Conservation biology is long term preservation of entire biological communities
as it's primary consideration with economic factors often a secondary factors. It attempts to
keep normal evolutionary process working within a functioning ecological setting. It also
help in sustaining the evolutionary process related with population, genetics and ecosystem
diversity variation. Followings are main goal of conservation biology :-
a. To investigate human impact on Biological Biodiversity
b. To develop a practical approach to prevent extinction of species
c. To develop compromises between human needs and conservation
Scope of conservation biology :-
2. Ecosystems of different ecology
3. Evolution and extinction
5. Population biology and conservation
6. Community ecology
7. Restoration process in different ecology
8. Human behavioral ecology
9. Applied theorem of wildlife biology
The convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) defines biodiversity as the
variability among living organism from all sources including terrestrial, marine and other
aquatic ecosystems and ecological complexes of which they are part. The term generally
refers to all aspects of the variability evident within the living world, including diversity
within and between individuals, population, species, communities and ecosystems.
Biodiversity includes mainly three diversity
1.2.1 Species diversity
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It refers to the variety and frequency of species within a geographical
area. Species diversity can be further distinguished into three types:- Alpha, Beta and
Gamma diversity. Alpha diversity refers diversity at one site, Beta diversity refers to
species turnover across an environmental or geographical gradient and Gamma diversity
refers to total number of species in a region.
1.2.2 Genetic diversity
Genetic diversity refers to the differences between population of a single
species and between individuals within a single population.
1.2.3 Ecosystem diversity
Ecosystem refers to variety of habitat, the dynamic complexes of
plant, animal and microorganism communities and their non- living environment, which
interact as a functional unit and their change over time.
1.3 Loss of Biodiversity: Rates, Causes, Consequences, Perspectives
Nepal's biodiversity is threatened by multiple factors. Loss and degradation of natural
habitat, such as forest, grass land and wetland due to expansion of settlements, agriculture
and infrastructure; overexploitation; invasion by alien species; and pollution of water bodies
remain the predominant threats to natural ecosystem. Climate change can have profound
impacts in future, particularly in mountains. Interaction of multiple threats is speculated to
have increased pressure thereby leading to further decline, degradation and loss of habitat
resulting loss of biodiversity.
Following are the main causes of loss of biodiversity
1. Loss of habitat:-
Continuous loss of habitat of any particular area means there is loss of
biodiversity and the causes of habitat loss are
Expansion of cultivation
Development of infrastructure
Planned conversion of forest land
2. Degradation of Habitat :-
Degradation of forest habitat is a major threat to biodiversity.
The world bank(2008) estimated that one quarter of Nepal's forest is heavily degraded,
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which has led to loss of biodiversity, increased landslides and soil erosion. Following are
the major causes of forest habitat degradation
Uncontrolled forest fire
3. Poaching and illegal wildlife trade:-
Illegal hunting and trade of important wildlife species is
a major problems in management of protected area biodiversity, The threats is
particularly severe for some vertebrates driven particularly by demand for wildlife
products in international markets.
4. Human-wildlife conflict:-
Common use of geographical area by human and wildlife create
Human-wildlife conflict. If wildlife species enter into human settlements for lack of
sufficient food , it will either kill or injury by human so it is not good news for
biodiversity. This had been happened in different protected area of Nepal.
5. Invasion by Alien species:-
Invasive species affect native species through predation,
competition and habitat modification. Invasion and rapid expansion of some alien
species, such as Mikenia micarantha, Agerantina adenophora, Chromolaena odorata and
Lantana camera has emerged as a major threat to forest biodiversity.
6. Stone, Gravel and sand mining:-
Excessive extraction of boulders, gravel and sand from
rivers and streams is a localized cause of deforestation in some area, which has posed a
direct threat to biodiversity.
Followings are consequences of loss of biodiversity
Loss of population of wild flora and fauna
Increase in natural calamites
Natural resources loss
Extinction of valuable species
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Entrance of alien species
Effort to climate change
Loss of biodiversity should be minimized for conservation biology. We have different efforts to
counteract with loss of biodiversity and some are listed as
Enabling policies, strategies and regulatory framework
Participation in international convention
Establishment and management of protected areas
Management of forest diversity outside the protected area
Others effort in in-situ and ex-situ conservation of forest biodiversity
1.4 Implication for biological conservation and its linkage with human society
The loss of biodiversity as a result of human activities has become a central preoccupation
among natural scientists, and many social scientists as well. Although we do not know the exact
scale of the problem, in particular the extent to which human beings have been responsible for
the loss of biodiversity as compared to the natural evolution, the process of species extinction,
green house effects and critical changes in the earth‘s biochemical cycle are now increasingly
The concept of human welfare is equally tangled. In general terms, it relates to the provision of
improved conditions of living. Human welfare is linked with the preservation of biodiversity in
varieties of ways. Biodiversity forms the basis of a global-life support system. Human beings
have fulfilled many of their needs by taking advantage of the existence of many genes, species,
as well as a ―balanced‖ ecosystem. For instance, many plant species have formed the basis of
food, fibre, medicines and many other useful items. There are also many aesthetic and ethical
values of plant and animal species.
The initial identification of the biodiversity problem has come from the natural sciences and it
stimulated and developed earlier more fragmented concerns of single species conservation. This
earlier notion of conservation was, of course, oblivious to its detrimental implications for human
welfare. Biodiversity has a complex scientific basis, much of which is still not understood, but
some of the basic data on trends of species and genetic diversity are increasingly persuasive that
there is a very serious problem in global terms. How this will impact and who will bear the costs
of its prevention or palliation is still far from clear. The contested nature of the social
For details please refer Nepal biodiversity strategy and action plan;2014-2020 peg..no 42
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construction of ―biodiversity‖, and the related variety of interpretations by different actors has
meant that the term has become a bandwagon, and means all things to all people. The result is
that much of the analysis is being degraded and reduced to the status of a fetish, sometimes even
an excuse for posturing and doing little. This difficulty is similar to that faced by other complex
and imprecise notions at the environmental-social interface such as ―sustainability‖ or
Therefore it may be helpful to (a) accept plurality of definitions, but define them carefully and
attribute them to the stakeholders involved; (b) be prepared to link biodiversity with other issues
too, but acknowledge that there are other issues involved which intersect with (some of) the aims
of biodiversity, but which do not share the same final goals. Human rights, particularly of
indigenous people, income distribution, rights to clean water, education, shelter, etc., and human
welfare all are related to biodiversity and its different values, but have agendas and goals other
than biodiversity conservation.
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UNIT 2. EVOLUTION AND EXTINCTION
2.1 Basic Genetics Review
Genetics is branch of biology which deals with gene of the
living organism. This help in historical analysis and future analysis of any particular species.
Genetic also gives different information about mega species which are not capture easily.
Genetic study is important in wildlife conservation as it is not harm to species as not necessary of
capture animal for their holistic study.
DNA and RNA
The base code of any organism is contained inside DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) or RNA
(Ribonucleic Acid) molecule strands known as nucleic acids. These strands are composed of
nucleotides, which are separated into two categories; Purines and Pyrimidines. Purines are
heterocyclic aromatic organic compounds, made up of a pyrimidine ring fused to an imidazole
ring. The two purines in nucleic acids are Adenine (A) and Guanine (G). Pyrimidines are also
heterocyclic aromatic organic compounds, and are composed of two nitrogen atoms, four
carbons, and the functional groups that bond and create the different derivatives. Pyrimidines
found in nucleic acids are Cytosine (C), Thymine (T), and Uracil (U). Thymine is found only in
DNA, while Uracil is found only in RNA.
2.2 Heterozygosity and inbreeding
Heterozygosity is the state of having different alleles with regard to a given character.
Allelic diversity, on the other hand, determines a population's ability to respond to long-
term selection over many generations, and ultimately the survival of the population
(perhaps even of the species). Individual heterozygosity is expected to be correlated
between parents and their offspring.
The gene pool is the set of all genes, or genetic information, in any population, usually of
a particular species. A large gene pool indicates extensive genetic diversity, which is
associated with robust populations that can survive bouts of intense selection. low
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genetic diversity such as inbreeding and population bottlenecks can cause reduced
biological fitness and an increased chance of extinction.
Loss of heterozygosity:-
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) is a cross chromosomal event that results in loss of the
entire gene and the surrounding chromosomal region.Most diploid cells, for example
human somatic cells, contain two copies of the genome, one from each parent
(chromosome pair). Each copy contains approximately 3 billion bases (adenine (A),
guanine (G), cytosine (C) or thymine (T)). For the majority of positions in the genome
the base present is consistent between individuals.A small percentage may contain
different bases (usually one of two; for instance, ‗A‘ or ‗G‘) and these positions are called
‗single nucleotide polymorphisms‘ or ‗SNPs‘.When the genomic copies derived from
each parent have different bases for these polymorphic regions (SNPs) the region is said
to be heterozygous. Most of the chromosomes within somatic cells of individuals are
paired, allowing for SNP locations to be potentially heterozygous. However, one parental
copy of a region can sometimes be lost, which results in the region having just one copy.
The single copy cannot be heterozygous at SNP locations and therefore the region shows
loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Loss of heterozygosity due to loss of one parental copy in
a region is also called hemizygosity in that region.
Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals
or organisms that are closely related genetically. In human reproduction, but more
commonly refers to the genetic disorders and other consequences that may arise from
incestuous sexual relationships ( i.e. between family members or close relatives and
consanguinity (i.e. blood relations). The major effect of inbreeding is the reduction in
mean performance of the population. Inbreeding tends to reduce the level of the
characters connected with fitness and consequently can lead to loss of general vigour and
fertility. This reduced fitness of populations caused by the manifestation of deleterious
recessive genes is termed inbreeding depression. ID usually reduces reproductive
performance and survival (Falconer 1989), and has been documented in many
populations ever since Darwin (1876) described it (Wright 1977; Charlesworth and
Charlesworth 1987; Ralls et al. 1988; Falconer 1989).
In a small population, matings between relatives are common. This inbreeding may lower
the population's ability to survive and reproduce, a phenomenon called inbreeding
depression. For example, a population of 40 adders (Vipera berus) experienced
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inbreeding depression when farming activities in Sweden isolated them from other adder
populations. Higher proportions of stillborn and deformed offspring were born in the
isolated population than in the larger populations. When researchers introduced adders
from other populations — an example of outbreeding — the isolated population
recovered and produced a higher proportion of viable offspring.The explanation for
inbreeding depression lies in the evolutionary history of the population. When the
dominant deleterious alleles are expressed, they lower the carrier's fitness, and fewer
copies wind up in the next generation.
2.3 Genetic models in conservation
Several genetic models were developed for the conservation of wild flora and fauna.
Darwin (1896) was the ﬁrst to consider the importance of genetics in the persistence of
natural populations. He expressed concern that deer in British nature parks may be
subject to loss of vigor because of their small population size and isolation. Voipio
(1950) presented the ﬁrst comprehensive consideration of the application of population
genetics to the management of natural populations. He was primarily concerned with the
effects of genetic drift in game populations that were reduced in size by trapping or
hunting and fragmented by habitat loss. The modern concern for genetics in conservation
began around 1970 when Sir Otto Frankel (1970) began to raise the alarm about the loss
of primitive crop varieties and their replacement by genetically uniform cultivars (Guest
Box 1). It is not surprising that these initial considerations of conservation genetics dealt
with species that were used directly as resources by humans. Conserving the genetic
resources of wild relatives of agricultural species remains an important area of
conservation genetics (Maxted 2003). The application of genetics to conservation in a
more general context did not blossom until around 1980, when three publications
established the foundation for applying the principles of genetics to conservation of
biodiversity (Soulé and Wilcox 1980; Frankel and Soulé 1981; Schonewald-Cox et al.
1983). Perpetuation of biodiversity primarily depends upon the protection of the
environment and maintenance of habitat. Nevertheless, genetics has played an important
and diverse role in conservation biology in the last few years. Nearly 10% of the articles
published in the journal Conservation Biology since its inception in 1988 have ―genetic‖
or ―genetics‖ in their title. Probably at least as many other articles deal with largely
genetic concerns but do not have the term in their title. Thus, approximately 15% of the
articles published in Conservation Biologyhave genetics as a major focus. The subject
matter of papers published on conservation genetics is extremely broad. However, many
of articles dealing with conservation and genetics ﬁt into one of the following ﬁve broad
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1. Management and reintroduction of captive populations, and the restoration of
2. Description and identiﬁcation of individuals, genetic population structure, kin
relationships, and taxonomic relationships.
3. Detection and prediction of the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation, and isolation.
4. Detection and prediction of the effects of hybridization and introgression.
5. Understanding the relationships between adaptation or ﬁtness and the genetic
characters of individuals or populations.
The models include ecology, population genetics, molecular biology, mathematical
modeling and evolutionary taxonomy. Population genetics means subfield of genetics
which deals with different among individuals within and between population. In
population, individuals which contain mutation can be spread via mating, natural
selection, genetic drift and migration(gene flow)
A. Captive breeding
B. Demography and Extinction
C. Meta populations and Fragmentation
E. Conservation Breeding and Restoration
F. Forensic and Management Applications of Genetic Identiﬁcation
G. Inbreeding Depression analysis
In Nepal followings are conservation efforts of wildlife genetically:-
Elephant breeding center at Khorsar, Chitwan
Vulture conservation centers at Kasra, Chitwan
The central Zoo at Jawalakhel
Botanical Garden at Godawari, Latitpur and 10 others in different district
Conservation of Forest genetic resources
Plant propagation by Tissue culture
Global Taxonomic initiative Nepal
2.4 Evolutionary aspects of diversity
For further description of these topic
please contact :-
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Evolution is the process of formation of new either living or non livings in our
environment due to different factors. Evolution was started from the formation of earth. There is a
sequential evolution of different species of same family and different family.
Evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive
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What Causes Evolution?
I. Evolutionary aspect of diversity result from the interactions between organisms and
their environments and the consequences of these interactions over long periods of time.
II. Organisms continually adapt to their environments, and the diversity of environments
that exists promotes a diversity of organisms adapted to them.
III. Mutation, which include mechanisms for creating evolutionary novelty through the
movement and other activities of transposable elements (multiple genes / DNA sequence).
IV. Isolated founding populations may produce bottlenecks (when population size drops
V. Natural Selection modifies populations over time:
form in seas
form in seas
form, first in
the seas and
later in the
Formation of the
earth's early crust and
Small organic molecule
form in sea
form in sea)
First protocells form in
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• Darwin studied a group of closely related species of finches on the Galapagos Islands.
• Each species specializes in eating a different type of food and has a beak of
characteristic size and shape, because natural selection has favored the individuals best suited to
exploit each food source efficiently.
• Aside from the differences in their beaks, the finches are quite similar.
2.5 The Evolution of Social Behavior
Social behavior consists of a set of interactions among individuals of the same species
(e.g. survival and reproduction, protection from predators, etc. A wide range of sociality occurs
among animals. Some animals rarely if ever interact with one another, even when it comes to
issues of parental care. Highly social organisms live together in large groups, and often cooperate
to conduct many tasks. Examples of social groups include packs of wolves, ants and termites,
some bees and wasps, and a few other organisms.
Social Behavior is Adaptive:
Many social behaviors of animals are adaptive, meaning that being social ultimately
increases an animal‘s fitness - its lifetime reproductive success. One example of how social
behavior is adaptive is aggregation against predators.
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2.6 Population Bottlenecks & Genetic Diversity
when a population contracts to a significantly smaller size over a short period of time due to
some random environmental events there is loss of some important gene and species become less
genetically is known as population bottleneck. After a population bottleneck, inbreeding
increases and this leads to a further loss of genetic diversity.
Population Bottlenecks Reduce Variation
(a) A population bottleneck may drastically reduce genetic and phenotypic variation because the
few organisms that survive may carry similar sets of alleles. Both the northern elephant seal and
the cheetah passed through population bottlenecks in the recent past, resulting in an almost total
loss of genetic diversity.
2.7 Speciation and Evolution Measures of Diversity
A species concept is a way of defining a species, where as the Speciation is the origin of new
species. Speciation entails one species changing over time (branching off of individuals) and
eventually becoming two species from the species they originally were. Speciation is the
changing of individuals within a population so they are no longer part of the same species. It
consists of the evolution of biological barriers to gene flow (reproductive isolation) between two
populations of the same species. As a field of scientific investigation, it links the fields of
macroevolution and microevolution, including the fields of genetics, ecology, behavior and
biogeography. Speciation is the process where a species diverges into two or more descendant
species . Speciation is the evolutionary process by which new biological species arise.
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What cause speciation?
Speciation, or the evolution of reproductive isolation, occurs as a by-product of genetic
changes that accumulate between two previously interbreeding populations of the same
Over time, as natural selection occurs, individuals may build up adaptations that are no
longer compatible with others in their species.
This most often occurs due to geographic isolation or reproductive isolation of
individuals within the population.
These changes can be due to different selection pressures because of different
environments, or because of genetic drift/founder events.
How does speciation occur?
Step 1:- gene flow between two populations is interrupted (populations become
genetically isolated from each other).
Step 2:- genetic differences gradually accumulate between the two populations
(populations diverge genetically).
Step 3:- reproductive isolation evolves as a consequence of this divergence (a
reproductive isolating mechanism evolves). [Requires reproductive isolation through
Speciation process of Arctic
and Grav fox
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geographic (physically separated), temporal (mate at different times), behavioral (Bird
calls / mating rituals), anatomical, etc)]
Allopatric Speciation / Allopatric Model of Speciation:
Speciation that occurs when two or more populations of a species are geographically isolated
from one another. The allele frequencies in these populations change. Members become so
different that that can no longer interbreed.
Sympatric Speciation / Sympatric Model of Speciation :
Populations evolve with overlapping ranges. Populations are not physically or geographically
isolated from each other; they live in the same place. It is because of ecological isolation
(disruptive selection for resource use, and when mating occurs exclusively on the resource),
Behavioral barrier or hybridization or polyploidy.
2.8 Rates of Extinction
A taxon is Extinct when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died. A taxon is
presumed Extinct when exhaustive surveys in known and/or expected habitat, at appropriate
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times (diurnal, seasonal, annual), throughout its historic range have failed to record an
individual. Surveys should be over a time frame appropriate to the taxon‘s life cycle and life
form. (IUCN Redlist 2012)
The complete loss forever of a unique constellation (group / pattern / assemblage) of genes of an
organism or of a group of organisms (taxon), normally a species. e.g. Passenger pigeon.
ecosystems and communities are being degraded and destroyed, and species are being driven to
extinction because of human activity to suit human needs.
Extirpation / local extinction:
The elimination of a species from one or more specific areas, but not from all areas.
Examples:- Gharial have been extirpated from most of their former range Mahakali, Koshi, etc
but many individuals still exist on captive breeding center and other rivers in Nepal. Many
crocodilian species have experienced localized extinction, particularly the saltwater crocodile
(Crocodylus porosus), which has been extirpated from Vietnam, Thailand, Java, and many other
areas. Blackbuck were known to occur in Banke, bardia, Kailali, Kanchapur bu now were
restricted to only Bardia in wild.
Past Rates of Extinction:
The diversity of species found on the Earth has been increasing since life 1st originated. This
increase has not been steady, rather it has been characterized by periods of high rates of
speciation followed by periods of minimal change and episodes of mass extinction (Sepkoski &
Raup 1986, Raup 1992). This pattern is visible in the fossil records – best studied fossils are
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2.8.1 Extinction rates in aquatic environments
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2.8.2 Extinction rates on island
Studies on island communities have led to general rules on the distribution of biological
diversity, synthesized as the island biogeography model by Mac Arthur & Wilson (1967). The
central observation that this model was built to explain is the species-area relationship: islands
with large areas have more species than islands with smaller areas. This rule makes intuitive
sense because large islands will tend to have greater variety of local environments and
community types than small islands. Also, large islands allow greater geographical isolation and
a large no. of populations per species, increasing likelihood of speciation and decreasing the
probability of local extinction of newly evolved as well as recently arrived species.
2.8.3 Island biogeography and extinction rate predictions
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2.8.4 Local extinction
Local extinction or extirpation is the condition of a species (or other taxon) that ceases to exist in
the chosen geographic area of study, though it still exists elsewhere. Local extinctions are
contrasted with global extinctions.
2.9 Non-invasive genetics
Non-invasive:- Medically, a non-invasive procedure is one in which the animal‘s body is not
invaded, either through the skin or a body orifice (Medical Dictionary 2006). Morin and
Woodruff (1992) apparently were the first to use the term non-invasive with regard to
genotyping material from unrestrained wildlife; however, widespread use of the term and
application of the technique in field studies seemed to commence about 5 years later, spurred by
their book chapter on the subject - Non-invasive genotyping for vertebrate conservation. In:
Molecular Genetic Approaches in Conservation. (Morin and Woodruff 1996). Of published
paper since then (1997–2005) employing the term noninvasive genetic sampling in reference to a
study of a distinct mammalian wildlife taxon, 61% dealt with the order Carnivora and primates
were the second most frequently occurring order.
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Noninvasive genetic sampling thus refers to collection of DNA from material outside the skin
(hair or feathers), or material sloughed, shed (skin), or passed outside the body (feces, urine,
semen, saliva, regurgitated pellets). Modern Genetic technique, by exploiting individual
uniqueness, can utilize variety of non-invasive genetic samples like:- hair, feces/scats, urine,
feathers, shed skin, saliva, egg shells to collect critical data eg.
• To identify presence of rare or elusive species,
• To monitor rare and sensitive species, where capture and handling are simply too risky,
noninvasively-obtained samples provide a more acceptable method of study,
• To count & identify individuals, gender, diet items,
• To evaluate genetic diversity, population structure, and mating system.
• To estimate wildlife populations without handling, capturing, or even observing individual
Majority of Tiger studies have relied on Conventional Techniques such as: Surveys
based on signs (e.g. pugmarks, scrapes, scat and urination pattern) Interviews with local
inhabitants ,Camera trapping
Conventional techniques possess several disadvantages: Extended field time (~40-50
days) ,High cost of field work
Genetic monitoring has become a established scientific and convincing data-collection
approach with great potential for wildlife and conservation biologists.
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2.10 PCR Marker
PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) is an exponentially progressing synthesis of the defined target
DNA sequences in vitro. PCR is an in-vitro technique for rapidly synthesizing large quantities of
a given DNA segment that involves separating the DNA into its two complementary strands,
using DNA polymerase to synthesize two-stranded DNA from each single strand, and repeating
the process. Molecular markers are very important techniques for determining the genetic
variation and diversity with high levels of accuracy and reproducibility than simple
morphological based conclusion. PCR was invented in 1983 by Dr. Kary Mullis, for which he
received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1993.
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2.11 Genetic base population survey
The survey is taken on the basis of the genetic materials of wild species. Nepal Tiger Genome
Project (NTGP) is an initiative by the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, with the generous
support from the American people through USAID for making funding available and
collaboration with the government of Nepal‘s MOFSC and DNPWC, to develop comprehensive
non-invasive genetic technology for broader conservation efforts of Bengal tigers in Nepal.
To enhance capacity to apply molecular tools and provide DNA forensic evidence for
To customize spatial genetic data-based wildlife tracker to for tigers; and
To transfer DNA Genomic based technology to Nepal.
Life of Project: June, 2011 – June, 2013 ,Geographic Focus: Terai Arc Landscape in Nepal
Bengal tigers are defined by three distinct mitochondrial nucleotide sites and 12 unique
microsatellite alleles. The pattern of genetic variation in the Bengal tiger corresponds to the
premise that these tigers arrived in India approximately 12,000 years ago. This recent history of
tigers in the Indian subcontinent is consistent with the lack of tiger fossils from India prior to the
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late Pleistocene and the absence of tigers from Sri Lanka, which was separated from the
subcontinent by rising sea levels in the early Holocene. However, a recent study of two
independent fossil finds from Sri Lanka, one dated to approximately 16,500 years ago,
tentatively classifies them as being a tiger.
The endangered snow leopard is found throughout major mountain ranges of Central Asia,
including the remote Himalayas. However, because of their elusive behavior, sparse distribution,
and poor access to their habitat, there is a lack of reliable information on their population status
and demography, particularly in Nepal. Therefore, we utilized noninvasive genetic techniques to
conduct a preliminary snow leopard survey in two protected areas of Nepal.
2.12 Sex and individual id.
This is a simply a identification of any species of wildanimal in which unique structure is
considered as it's identity for the easiest in future study. ID based rhino monitoring was started in
2009 by NTNC in collaboration with the DNPWC. In ID based rhino monitoring program,
particular care to record the individual features of each rhino such as sex, shape of its horns,
scars or marks on its body, etc. Individual identification of rhinos helps in monitoring the rhino
population and reducing the risk of poaching. This process also immediately helped identify the
presence of the new calf. In ID based rhino monitoring program, an ID profile is built up for
each animal along with a photo, which we maintain in a database." Such profiling is a valuable
tool for long-term monitoring of rhinos and also helps to determine the population size in a
particular area. ID based rhino monitoring was started in 2009 by NTNC in collaboration with
the DNPWC. For ID based monitoring, generally we take following external part of animals:-
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UNIT 3. POPULATION BIOLOGY IN CONSERVATION
3.1 Basic Population Growth Models
Population model is type of mathematical model which help in study the population dynamics.
Models allow a better understanding of how complex interactions and processes work. Modeling
of dynamic interactions in nature can provide a manageable way of understanding how numbers
change over time or in relation to each other. Many patterns can be noticed by using population
modeling as a tool. Ecological population modeling is concerned with the changes in parameters
such as population size and age distribution within a population. This might be due to
interactions with the environment, individuals of their own species, or other species. Population
models are used to determine maximum harvest for agriculturists, to understand the dynamics of
biological invasions, and for environmental conservation. Population models are also used to
understand the spread of parasites, viruses, and disease. Another way populations models are
useful are when species become endangered. Population models can track the fragile species and
work and curb the decline.
Bacteria grown in the lab provide an excellent example of exponential growth. In exponential
growth, the population‘s growth rate increases over time, in proportion to the size of the
Let's take an example:-
There is tiger population of 1000. The population is increased 10% annually. So the population
after One year is
Similarly for two year ,
And for 'n' year the population is,
If we plot the data in graph we get the J- shaped Graph as
The model for this is obtained as
𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑥 𝑁
𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑥 is maximum per capita rate of increase
N is population size
And T is Time period
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Exponential growth is not a very sustainable state of affairs, since it depends on infinite amounts
of resources (which tend not to exist in the real world).
Exponential growth may happen for a while, if there are few individuals and many resources.
But when the number of individuals gets large enough, resources start to get used up, slowing the
growth rate. Eventually, the growth rate will plateau, or level off, making an S-shaped curve.
The population size at which it levels off, which represents the maximum population size a
particular environment can support, is called the carrying capacity, or K.
3.2 Stochasticity and Population Decline
The external environment and its influences can include anything from abiotic fluctuations to
biotic factors such as predators or ecosystem processes. Under this view, environmental variation
can be seen as the aggregated influence from multiple paths, for which the detailed workings are
mostly unclear. Since we often lack in knowledge on the causes of much ecological variation,
this also introduces randomness into our systems. Even if we have good information on the
range, correlation structure and time scale of the variation, we still cannot predict exactly how
the environment will change over time. Therefore probabilistic statements are often necessary,
and this transcends into our population and ecosystem models. Since much of Conservational
Biology deals with small populations, the randomness due to the discreteness of population
numbers must also be included in population and this introduce another source of variation. This
variation is called stochasticity.
Sources of random variation:
a. Environmental stochasticity :-
The mathematical expression of the logistic growth
model is as
All are same but K= Carrying capacity of geographical
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The most obvious form of variation that individuals are exposed to is temporal
fluctuations in their living environment (temporal component) and variation in living
conditions between different habitat types (spatial component). Similar between these
two forms of variation is that they constitute variability in external factors, the
environment, that influence the performance of individuals. Environmental variation can
be either deterministic or random. All natural populations exhibit both a deterministic and
a random part in their population dynamics (Lande et al., 2003), but their relative
magnitude can differ.
b. Demographic stochasticity :-
Variation in vital rates or population sizes due to fluctuations in the environment is easy
to grasp. We can all see how seasons come and go, and how environments change over
time. From that point the step is quite short to understand that these fluctuations will
influence the organisms that inhabit this environment, and that the fluctuation will, at
least partly, transcend into the population dynamics of these organisms. Demographic
stochasticity might not be as intuitive. Demographic stochasticity is usually defined as
the variation in population growth rate, or other measures of population performance,
caused by random variation in individual fates within a year.
The both above stochasticity have risk of population decline.
3.3 Social Effects of Population Decline
Followings are main effects of population decline
Food chain network loss
3.4 Population Viability Analysis
Population viability analysis (PVA) is a species-specific method of risk assessment
frequently used in conservation biology. It is traditionally defined as the process that determines
the probability that a population will go extinct within a given number of years. More recently,
PVA has been described as a marriage of ecology and statistics that brings together species
characteristics and environmental variability to forecast population health and extinction risk.
Each PVA is individually developed for a target population or species, and consequently, each
PVA is unique. The larger goal in mind when conducting a PVA is to ensure that the population
of a species is self-sustaining over the long term.
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Population viability analysis (PVA) is used to estimate the likelihood of a population‘s
extinction and indicate the urgency of recovery efforts, and identify key life stages or processes
that should be the focus of recovery efforts. PVA is also used to compare proposed management
options and assess existing recovery efforts. PVA is frequently used in endangered species
management to develop a plan of action, rank the pros and cons of different management
scenarios, and assess the potential impacts of habitat loss.
The first rule of population viability analysis is: ―let the data tell you which analysis to perform‖.
While population biologists have developed a vast array of complex and mathematically
sophisticated population models, it is our view that when data are limited (as they almost always
will be when we are dealing with the rare, seldom-studied species that are the typical concern of
conservation planners) the benefits of using complex models to perform population viability
analyses will often be illusory. That is, while more complex models may promise to yield more
accurate estimates of population viability because they include more biological detail (such as
migration among semi-isolated populations, the effects of spatial arrangement of habitat patches,
and the nuances of genetic processes such as gene flow and genetic drift), this gain in accuracy
will be undermined if the use of a more complex model requires us to ―guess‖ at critical
components about which we have no data. Instead, our philosophy is that the choice of models
and methods in PVA should be determined primarily by the type of data that are available, and
not the other way around.
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3.5 Metapopulation Analysis
A metapopulation consists of a group of spatially separated populations of the same species
which interact at some level. The term metapopulation was coined by Richard Levins in 1969 to
describe a model of population dynamics of insect pests in agricultural fields, but the idea has
been most broadly applied to species in naturally or artificially fragmented habitats. In Levins'
own words, it consists of "a population of populations".
A metapopulation is generally considered to consist of several distinct populations together with
areas of suitable habitat which are currently unoccupied. In classical metapopulation theory, each
population cycles in relative independence of the other populations and eventually goes extinct
as a consequence of demographic stochasticity (fluctuations in population size due to random
demographic events); the smaller the population, the more chances of inbreeding depression and
prone to extinction.
Although individual populations have finite life-spans, the metapopulation as a whole is often
stable because immigrants from one population (which may, for example, be experiencing a
population boom) are likely to re-colonize habitat which has been left open by the extinction of
another population. They may also emigrate to a small population and rescue that population
from extinction (called the rescue effect). Such a rescue effect may occur because declining
populations leave niche opportunities open to the "rescuers".
The development of metapopulation theory, in conjunction with the development of source-sink
dynamics, emphasised the importance of connectivity between seemingly isolated populations.
Although no single population may be able to guarantee the long-term survival of a given
species, the combined effect of many populations may be able to do this.
Metapopulation theory was first developed for terrestrial ecosystems, and subsequently applied
to the marine realm. In fisheries science, the term "sub-population" is equivalent to the
metapopulation science term "local population". Most marine examples are provided by
relatively sedentary species occupying discrete patches of habitat, with both local recruitment
and recruitment from other local populations in the larger metapopulation. Kritzer & Sale have
argued against strict application of the metapopulation definitional criteria that extinction risks to
local populations must be non-negligible.
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3.6 Predation and Herbivory
Predation is a biological interaction where a predator (a hunting animal) kills and eats its prey
(the organism that is attacked). Predators are adapted and often highly specialized for hunting,
with acute vision, hearing, and sense of smell. Many have sharp claws and jaws to grip, kill, and
cut up their prey.In ecology, predators are heterotrophic, getting all their energy from other
organisms. This places them at high trophic levels in food webs. Many predators are carnivoress;
others include egg predators. Predation is one of a family of common feeding behaviours that
includes parasitism and micropredation which usually do not kill the host, and parasitoidism
which always does, eventually. All these are evolutionarily stable strategies.Predator and prey
adapt to each other in an evolutionary arms race, coevolving under natural selection to develop
antipredator adaptations in the prey and adaptations such as stealth and aggressive mimicry that
improve hunting efficiency in the predator.
Following are form of predation:-
Convention predation, Social predation, Grazing and micro predation, parasitism, Parasitoidism
A herbivore is an animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for
example foliage, for the main component of its diet. As a result of their plant diet, herbivorous
animals typically have mouthparts adapted to rasping or grinding. Horses and other herbivores
have wide flat teeth that are adapted to grinding grass, tree bark, and other tough plant material.
A large percentage of herbivores have mutualistic gut flora that help them digest plant matter,
which is more difficult to digest than animal prey. This flora is made up of cellulose-digesting
protozoans or bacteria.
Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as
plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs
in general are known as primary consumers. Herbivory usually refers to animals eating plants;
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fungi, bacteria and protists that feed on living plants are usually termed plant pathogens (plant
diseases), and microbes that feed on dead plants are saprotrophs. Flowering plants that obtain
nutrition from other living plants are usually termed parasitic plants. There is, however, no single
exclusive and definitive ecological classification of consumption patterns; each textbook has its
own variations on the theme.
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UNIT 4. COMMUNITY ECOLOGY IN CONSERVATION
4.1 Community Ecology: Habitat and frag
Community is an assemblage of species living close enough together for potential interaction.
Communities differ in their species richness, the number of species they contain, and the relative
abundance of different species.
Habitat is the sum of total of the environmental factor food, cover, water and space that a given
species of animal needs to survive and reproduce in a given area. In order words, it is the home
of an organism such as marine, river, pond, lake, forest, desert, savanna, grassland, alpine
meadow, etc. The four basic environmental components of habitat (food, cover, water and
space) are basic necessities for the survival and reproduction of any wild animal species. Every
wild animal has its own type of habitat requirement and hence, their distribution and number
depends on the quality and quantity of the habitat. Therefore, a habitat suitable for one species
might be worthless for another species.
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Habitat fragmentation is the process whereby a large, continuous area of habitat are both reduced
in area and divided into two or more fragments (Shafer, 1990). Continue alteration of Habitats
by human is the greatest threat to the richness of life on Earth.
It is the process of breaking up continuous habitats, resulting in reduced area, increased edge,
reduced interior area, increased isolation of patches and possibly increased number of patches
and decreased average patch size (Davidson 1998). It is an alteration of the spatial configuration
of habitats that involves external disturbance that alters the large patch so as to create isolated or
tenuously connected patches of the original habitat ( Wiens 1989). It is the breaking up of
extensive landscape features into disjunct, isolated or semi-isolated patches as a result of land
use changes (Heywood and Watson 1995). Taking these four key elements of fragmentation into
account, a comprehensive definition could be proposed, i.e. fragmentation is the process of
breaking up continuous habitats and thereby causing habitat loss, patch isolation and edge effects
Fragmentation process :-
Fragmentation typically begins with gap formation
Gaps get bigger or numerous
Connectivity of original vegetation has been broken
Fragmentation is complex process with many variables No two landscapes are likely to show
identical trajectories of change
Fragmentation is ‗disruption of continuity‘
Effects of habitat fragmentation
Rare and endangered (highly threatened) species
Species with large home range
Species with limited power of dispersal
Species with low reproductive potential
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Species dependent on resources that are unpredictable in time or space
Species of habitat interiors
Species exploited or persecuted by people
Solution for habitat fragmentation:
Stepping stones are patches of habitat which ease movement through the landscape without
necessarily creating direct links. Buffer zones around a woodland may help to reduce the edge
effect, and protect the interior of the woods from disturbance caused by activities such as
agrochemical use on adjacent land. Additional solutions include creating a matrix of other semi-
natural habitat such as scrubland, which may still be favorable to some woodland fauna.
Species-specific links, such as badger tunnels (under-pass) and aerial runways (above pass or sky
bridge) for squirrels, are also used to help these animals to negotiate roads.
4.2 Pattern and effects of landscape change: disturbance, ecosystem process,
The process of forest fragmentation due to human activities such as logging or conversion of
forests into agricultural areas and urbanization (Forman 1995) has been identified as the most
important factor contributing to the decline and loss of species diversity worldwide (Noss and
Cooperrider1994). Forest fragmentation occurs when a large region of forest is broken down, or
fragmented, into a collection of smaller patches of forest habitat (Wilcove et al. 1986;
Collingham and Huntley 2000; Fahrig 2003). The outcome of fragmentation can be considered
as a ‗binary landscape‘ in the sense that the resulting landscape is assumed to be composed of
spatially dispersed forest fragments with a nonforest (matrix) between them (Franklin et al.
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Disturbance is a temporary change in environmental conditions that causes a pronounced change
in an ecosystem. Disturbances often act quickly and with great effect, to alter the physical
structure or arrangement of biotic and abiotic elements. Disturbance can also occur over a long
period of time and can impact the biodiversity within an ecosystem. Major ecological
disturbances may include fires, flooding, windstorms, insect outbreaks and trampling.
Earthquakes, various types of volcanic eruptions, tsunami, firestorms, impact events, climate
change, and the devastating effects of human impact on the environment (anthropogenic
disturbances) such as clear cutting, forest clearing and the introduction of invasive species can
be considered major disturbances. Disturbance forces can have profound immediate effects on
ecosystems and can, accordingly, greatly alter the natural community. Because of these and the
impacts on populations, disturbance determines the future shifts in dominance, various species
successively becoming dominant as their life history characteristics, and associated life-forms,
are exhibited over time.
Agents of disturbance :-Insects, Bark defoliation, Diseases and pathogen, Browsing , Humans,
Fires, Wind, Volcanoes, Climate change, Drought, Floods, Glaciers, Mass wasting
Kinds of major disturbances
I. Insect defoliation
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II. Bark beetle
Many different diseases affect ecosystems . Often synergistic with other disturbance
(weakened/stressed/dead organisms) . Fungi, bacteria, viruses , Spread (dispersal) related to
distribution of ―subjects‖ and related behaviors, ability to move. For example: Fusarium solani
is one of the several causes of mortality of Dalbergia sissoo.
Susceptibility to pathogen increases when:
N is limiting
Low photosynthesis due to shade ◦
Accumulation of amino acid in leaves
Low phenolic to sugar ratio
Low lignin to sugar ratio
Lack of balanced nutrition (e.g. relatively high N and low P)
IV. Animal browsing
Different browsing animal as Deer.
V. Alien invasion
Mikenia micarantha and Lantana camera
VI. Forest Harvesting (human)
Removal of nutrients; 0.1-7.0% of nutrient pools of N, P, K and Ca; upto 31% S of the pool . In
traditional harvesting, the period required for recovery of nutrient loss is shorter than the harvest
cycle. Removal of whole trees for biomass energy and pulpwood removes more nutrients than
timber harvest . Since foliage and small twigs are left behind in timber logging, the loss of
nutrient is low . Following removal of canopy trees, soil warms up, more water remained
More common in pine, e.g. Dendroctonus
ponderosae in pine;
Attacks on dead and dying trees, but some
aggressive species attack and kill living and
Beetles deposits eggs in galleries excavated in
phloem, cambium and sap wood
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available, favor decomposition, mineralization, and nitrification . Any attempts to reduce
herbaceous and shrubby vegetation in such stands may increase nutrient leaching. Harvesting
may reduce slope stability due to loss of root system holding soil, soil compaction leading to low
water percolation and high surface run off, and construction of road for access.
II. Atmospheric factors: Gases, and wet and dry fall
Gases: -Atmospheric components captured more by forests than by any other vegetation . Over
the past century, concentration of O3, SO2, NH3, CO2 and CH4 increased substantially over the
natural level . Humid atmospheric condition increases sensitivity to atmospheric pollutant,
Deciduous species are more sensitive to pollutants than are evergreens. Green house gasses:
CO2, O3, CH4; rising CO2 may induce stomata closure. Rise in SO2, NO are the causes of acid
deposition . O3 has direct toxic effect to photosynthesis.
Wet and dry falls:-
Atmospheric deposition of cations (Ca+2, Mg+2, K+), N and S are important, sometimes more
important than mineral weathering, source for forests and other vegetation. . Air borne deposition
of heavy metal is important locally; heavy metals – lethal to moss, lichens; inhibit microbial
activities in soil . Some species (particularly belonging to Brassicaceae) are hyper accumulators
of heavy metals;
III. Mechanical forces: wind, snow and ice, mass movement
Wind: Fast moving air;-
Alters thermal environment and hydraulic balance of the individual plants as well as stand, in
addition to mechanical stress . Shallow rooted plants (e.g. Populus) more vulnerable to wind
damage than deep rooted plants (e.g. Eucalyptus) . Many forests depend on winds for diversity
and productivity . Mangrove forests of coastal regions are relatively resistant to wind, and also
protect surrounding land uses from hurricanes.
Snow and Ice:- Accumulation of snow and ice exerted mechanical stress on tree branches and
stem; sometime sufficient to cause breakage . On slopes, slow downhill movement of snow can
cause uprooting of young trees . In some temperate regions, upper elevational limits of species
of Abies, Picea and Pinus determined by their susceptibility to snow damage.
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Mass movement:- Mass movements of soil and snow avalanches are common in hills and
mountains . Partly or completely damage the existing vegetation and initiate the new process of
stand development . Lowland riparian forests may be subjected to flooding which involves
deposition of sediments and water logging creating hypoxic or anoxic condition to root. Some
species are adapted to flooding (e.g. Acacia catechu), while others are killed if flooding is
prolonged/of high intensity (e.g. Shorea robusta).
Tree response to disturbance :-
Decline in growth efficiency and NPP
Greater investment in defense system
Increase in susceptibility to other disturbance factors
Increased mortality, reduced regeneration
High litter production and nutrient return to soil
Alters speed and stage of stand development
Setting back of succession
Sometimes disturbance may be beneficial:
A disturbance may change a forest significantly. After severe wind, the forest floor is
often littered with dead material.
The decaying matter and abundant sunlight promote an abundance of new growth.
In the case of forest fires, a portion of the nutrients previously held in plant biomass is
returned quickly to the soil as biomass burns.
Many plants and animals benefit from disturbance conditions. Some species are
particularly suited for exploiting recently disturbed sites.
Spatial and biological disturbances can create a mosaic of habitat patches separated by
The intermediate disturbance hypothesis states that a disturbance regime (or pattern of
disturbances) characterized by low frequency, limited gap size (that is, habitats containing only
small areas cleared by disturbances), and low intensity reduces resource availability for many
species. Consequently, the variety of species that can coexist locally declines. At the opposite
extreme of the disturbance continuum, large-scale and frequent disturbances can restrict
community development and the natural evolution of the community. Thus, the hypothesis
implies that maximum species richness (i.e., the number of species in a given area) occurs in
locations characterized by disturbances whose intensities and frequencies occur at intermediate
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4.3 Mating Systems and Conservation
The Evolution of Sex
Asexually reproducing animals pass on all of their chromosomes, and consequently all copies of
each gene, to their offspring. In contrast, due to meiosis, diploid sexually reproducing animals
have two copies of each chromosome but only pass one copy of each chromosome on to an egg
or sperm cell. Sexual reproduction is much more common than asexual reproduction among
animals because it provides several evolutionary advantages.
o The major advantage of sexual reproduction comes from genetic recombination.
o Genetic recombination allows an organism's offspring to be genetically diverse.
o Sexual reproduction increases the chances of acquiring favorable mutations and is
unlikely to propagate deleterious ones.
o Genetic diversity within a group of offspring is advantageous as the local
Bateman's principle, in evolutionary biology, is that in most species, variability in reproductive
success (or reproductive variance) is greater in males than in females. It was first proposed by
Angus John Bateman (1919– 1996), an English geneticist. It can be seen as the result of
anisogamy. Bateman suggested that, since males are capable of producing millions of sperm
cells with little effort, while females invest much higher levels of energy in order to nurture a
relatively small number of eggs, the female plays a significantly larger role in their offspring's
reproductive success. Bateman‘s paradigm thus views females as the limiting factor due to
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parental investment, over which males (intrasexual competition) will compete in order to
copulate successfully. Typically it is the females who have a relatively larger investment in
producing each offspring. Bateman attributed the origin of the unequal investment to the
differences in the production of gametes: sperm are cheaper than eggs. A single male can easily
fertilize all females' eggs: she will not produce more offspring by mating with more than one
male. Whereas, a male is capable of fathering more offspring if he mates with several females.
By and large, a male's potential reproductive success is limited by the number of females he
mates with, whereas a female's potential reproductive success is limited by how many eggs she
can produce. This results in sexual selection, in which males compete with each other, and
females become choosy in which males to mate with. As a result of being anisogamous, males
are fundamentally promiscuous, and females are fundamentally selective.
These figures illustrate Bateman‘s principle — after one mating, female mating frequency
increases and relative fitness (reproductive success) remains constant, as the sperm from one
mating is adequate to fertilize all the female‘s eggs. In males, as mating frequency increases
relative fitness also increases proportionally
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Types of mating system
Social monogamy is the behavioral pairing of a single male with a single female. It is most
common in birds and rare in other animals. Theoretically, individuals in monogamous pairs will
both contribute to the defense and parental care of offspring. Because the costs of poor mate
choice in monogamous species can be so high, in some instances organisms engage in strategies
of either serial monogamy or extrapair copulations. Extra-pair copulations are very common in
birds (Petrie et al.1998, Stutchberry1998). Monogamy reduces the potential for genetic variation
among a female's offspring
Polygyny is the association of one male with multiple females. This mating system is found in a
few birds and insects, but is most common in mammals. Polygyny is a strategy used by males to
increase their reproductive fitness.
• Resource Defense Polygyny:- Resource defense polygyny, groups of females are attracted to a
resource — males then compete for territorial possession of the resource, and, by extension,
mating priority with females at the resource (Beletsky1994). Thus, individual males form
territories centered on resources needed for successful mating
• Harems:- Another common type of polygyny is membership in a harem, a defended group of
females associated with one male. Females may initially associate in a harem for group defense,
or they may be herded together by a male. Males compete for control of the groups. Harems
typically exhibit a dominance hierarchy among the females in the group.
• Leks :- A lek is an aggregation of males that are each seeking to attract a mate. Within a lek,
males typically perform sexual displays. Aggregations of males may be near particularly
attractive females or in areas where females are likely to travel (Lank et al. 1995, Aspbury &
Gibson 2004). It is thought that males form leks because they attract more females than do
isolated males. Attracting more females is a strategy used by males to help increase their
Polyandry is a group with one female and many males. For example, honey bee, cricket, emu.
Polyandry is a reproductive strategy that helps a female ensure reproductive success by
providing her with multiple mating options.
• Resource Defense Polyandry :- In the Spotted Sandpiper, female control resources, which in
turn controls male mating associations .
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• Cooperative Polyandry:- The Galapagos hawk exhibits cooperative polyandry. In this case all
males in the group copulate with the female and all participate in brood provisioning
In polygynandrous groups, multiple females and males mate with each other, and males may care
for the broods of several females. Chimpanzees and bonobos rely on this strategy — it allows
groups of males and females to live together and spend less time being concerned with mate
competition. Polygynandry may be advantageous from the female's perspective because it
causes paternity confusion, which decreases infanticide and allows her to have multiple males
care for her brood
In promiscuitythere are no pair bonds, and males and females, although sometimes
choosy, often seem to mate randomly. As it is typically more advantageous for one
or both sexes to pick their mate. For example, bear, wild dogs, etc.
4.4 Territoriality and Dispersal
Territory is an area used exclusively by an individual or a group . The term territory
refers to any socio-graphical area that an animal of a particular species consistently
defends against other animals . Animals that defend territories in this way are referred to
as territorial. Territorial animals defend areas that contain a nest, den or mating site and
sufficient food resources for themselves and their young. Defense rarely takes the form
of fights: more usually there is a highly noticeable display, which may be
Visual (e.g. by red breasted Robin)
Auditory (e.g. calls of birds)
Deposit of scent marks (e.g. cat and dog marks by scent spray)
Many territorial mammals use scent-marking to signal the boundaries of their territories .
The marks may be deposited by Urination , Defecation , Rubbing parts of the bodies
that bear specialized scent glands. Territoriality is not a fixed property of a species . In
species that do not form pair bonds, male and female territories are often independent .
Males defend territories only against other males, and females only against other females
. If the species is polygynous, one male territory will probably contain several female
territories . If the species is polyandrous, this situation is reversed . Territory is
maintained for protecting mates, foods, kids, nest or eggs, or maintained solidarity.
Defend is more observed in breeding, mating and food crisis season. Many species
demonstrate the behavior of polyterritoriality . Act of claiming or defending more than
one territory . Males exhibit polyterritoriality in order to deceive females of the species
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into entering into polygynous relationships . ―Deception hypothesis” claims that males
have territories at far enough distances that females will not be able to discern (detect)
Movement of individuals (animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.) from their birth site to
their breeding site, / Movement from one breeding site to another, /Dispersal is also used
to describe the movement of propagules such as seeds and spores . Technically, dispersal
is defined as any movement that has the potential to lead to ―gene flow‖ . The act of
dispersal involves three phasesdeparture, transfer, and settlement. In general there are two
basic types of dispersal
a. Density independentdispersal (Passive dispersal)
Organisms have evolved adaptations for dispersal that take advantage of various forms
of kinetic energy occurring naturally in the environment . Also called passive dispersal,
it operates on many groups of organisms that depend on animal vectors, wind,gravity or
current for dispersal
b. Density dependent dispersal
Density dependent or active dispersal for many animals largely depends on factors such
as local population size, resource competition, habitat quality, and habitat size.
Benefit to dispersal
Locating new resources
Escaping unfavorable conditions
Avoiding competing with siblings, and
Avoiding breeding with closely related individuals which could lead to inbreeding
Cost to dispersal
Energy: The extra energy required to move
Risk: Possibility of settling in an unfavorable environment, increased injury and
mortality during dispersal
Time: Time spent dispersing is time that often cannot be spent on other activities
such as growth and reproduction
Opportunity: Settling in new environment having all required habitat
components, dispersing individual must find and join a new group, which can lead
to loss of social rank
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Consequences of Dispersal
Dispersal not only has costs and benefits to the dispersing individual but it also
has consequences at the level of the population and species
Dispersal, by moving individuals between different sub-populations, can increase
the overall connectivity of the population
It helps to minimize the risk of stochastic extinction
If a sub-population goes extinct by chance, it is likely to be recolonized if the
dispersal rate is high.
Increased connectivity can also decrease the degree of local adaptation
4.5 Commensalism and Mutualism
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A mutualistic relationship is a relationship between two organisms from different species that
work together to help benefit one another. An example of mutualism is bees and flowers. The
bees receive nectar from the flowers, and the flowers get pollinated from the bees rubbing their
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feet on the flowers. This relationship is benefiting the bees because they receive a food source
and energy to produce honey, and the flowers get to reproduce. Organisms in a mutualistic
relationship evolved together. Each was part of the other's environment, so as they adapted to
their environment, they "made use of" each other in a way that benefited both. Mutualism plays a
key part in ecology. In addition, mutualism is thought to have driven the evolution of much of
the biological diversity we see, such as flower forms and co-evolution between groups of
species. However mutualism has historically received less attention than other interactions such
as predation and parasitism. Another example of mutualism is Oxpeckers and zebras or rhinos -
in this relationship, the oxpecker (a bird) lives on the zebra or rhino, sustaining itself by eating
all of the bugs and parasites on the animal.
Types of Mutualism
a. Trophic mutualisms (resource-to-resource mutualism) are interactions in which both species
receive a benefit of resources. In other words, it refers to the transfer of energy and nutrients
between two species. Some examples,
Rhizobia (nitrogen fixing bacteria) and leguminous plants .
Mycorrhizae (fungi that improves nutrient and water uptake as well as resist to
pathogen attack) and trees (boreal and temperate forests) .
Digestive symbiosis (bacteria in gastrointestinal tracts of vertebrates, where they aid
in the digestion of food and benefits from extracting substrates from the eaten food
eg. Rumen bacteria in cattle
b. Defensive mutualisms (Service-to-service mutualism) are interactions in which one species
receives food or shelter in return for protecting its partner species from predators or
For example, A clown fish uses the sea anemone for housing and the anemone protects
the clown fish from any predators by stinging the enemy fish. The clown fish brings
scraps of food into the sea anemone.
E.g. Several species of acacia like Acacia cornigera, Acacia collinsii, and Acacia
drepanolobium have a symbiotic relationship with the ants (like Pseudomyrmex
ferruginea) which thrive on them. The acacia tree provides shelter (in thorns) to the ants
while ants protects tree from herbivores by stinging them.
c. Dispersive mutualisms (resource-to-service mutualism) are interactions in which one
species receives food in exchange for moving the pollen or seeds of its partner.
For e.g. 1. The insects (e.g. bee and butterfly) get their food in the form of nectar and
at the same time, they help the plants pollinate their flowers as the pollen grains will
stick to their legs which they will carry to another flower, thereby pollinating the
E.g. 2. The birds transport and disperse seeds in return for the nutritional value of
fruits or other structures associated with seeds
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Obligate or facultative Mutualism
Mutualism can be considered obligate or facultative. (Be aware that sometimes the term
"symbiosis" is used specifically to mean mutualism.) . Species involved in obligate mutualism
cannot survive without the relationship, while facultative mutualistic species can survive
individually when separated but often not as well (Aaron et al. 1996). For example, leafcutter
ants and certain fungi have an obligate mutualistic relationship. The ant larvae eat only one kind
of fungi, and the fungi cannot survive without the constant care of the ants. As a result, the
colonies activities revolve around cultivating the fungi. They provide it with digested leaf
material, can sense if a leaf species is harmful to the fungi, and keep it free from pests. A good
example of a facultative mutualistic relationship is found between mycorrhizal fungi and plant
roots. It has been suggested that 80% of vascular plants form relationships with mycorrhizal
fungi (Deacon 2006). Yet the relationship can turn parasitic when the environment of the fungi
is nutrient rich, because the plant no longer provides a benefit (Johnson et al. 1997). Thus, the
nature of the interactions between two species is often relative to the abiotic conditions and not
always easily identified in nature.
Commensalism is English word-commensal meaning "sharing of food― – In Latin cum mensa,
meaning "sharing a table― Originally, the term was used to describe the use of waste food by
second animals – Like the carcass eaters that follow hunting animals, but wait until they have
finished their meal. In ecology, commensalism is a class of relationship between two organisms
where one organism benefits without affecting the other.
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For example, Cattle egrets foraging in fields among cattle or other livestock is an
example of commensalism. As cattle, horses and other livestock graze on the field, they
cause movements that stir up various insects. As the insects are stirred up, the cattle
egrets following the livestock catch and feed upon them. The egrets benefit from this
relationship because the livestock have helped them find their meals, while the livestock
are typically unaffected by it.
Second example: Orchids and mosses are plants that can exhibit commensalism with
trees. – The plants grow on the trunks or branches of trees, getting the light they need as
well as nutrients that run down along the tree. – As long as these plants do not grow too
heavy, the tree is not affected.
Types of Commensalism
Most experts in the field of ecology group commensal relationships into four main types:
chemical commensalism, inquilinism, metabiosis and phoresy.
a. Chemical commensalism is most often observed between two species of bacteria. It involves
one species of bacteria feeding on the chemicals produced or the waste products that are not used
by the other bacteria.
b. Inquilinism involves one species using the body or a body cavity of another organism as a
platform or a living space (sometimes food) while the host organism neither benefits nor is
harmed. For example, epiphytic plants that grow on trees, or birds that live in holes in trees.
c. Metabiosis is a form of commensalism that occurs when one species unintentionally creates a
home for another species through one of its normal life activities. Example includehermit crabs,
which usegastropod shells (after death of gastropod) to protect their bodies.
d. A phoresy takes place when one organism attaches to another organism specifically for the
purpose of gaining transportation. This concerns mainly arthropods (mites on insect)
4.6 Keystone and Umbrella Species
A keystone speciesis a species that has a disproportionately large effect on its environment
relative to its abundance. Such species are described as playing a critical role in maintaining the
structure of an ecological community, affecting many other organisms in an ecosystem and
Helping to determine the types and numbers of various other species in the community. Have
lower levels of biomass in the trophic pyramid relative to the importance of their role.
Connections it holds means that it maintains the organization and structure of entire
communities. Loss results in a range of dramatic cascading effects that alters trophic dynamics,
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other food web connections, and can cause the extinction of other species. Sea otters (Enhydra
lutris) limit the density of sea urchins that feed on kelp. If sea otters are removed from the
system, the urchins graze until the kelp beds disappear and this has a dramatic effect on
community structure. Hunting of sea otters is thought to have indirectly led to the extinction of
the Steller's Sea Cow (Hydrodamalis gigas). Extensively as a conservation tool, it has been
criticized for being poorly defined from an operational stance.
Keystone species are animals that have a fairly small distribution, but have a large impact on
their environment, like beavers. Indicator species are those that can be used to learn certain
things about the surrounding environment. For example, certain types of fish can only live in
very clean water, so the presence of that fish in an area would indicate that the water is clean.
Umbrella species are species selected for making conservation related decisions, typically
because protecting these species indirectly protects the many other species that make up the
ecological community of its habitat. The identification of selected keystone species, flagship
species or umbrella species makes conservation decisions easier. Umbrella species can be used
to help select the locations of potential reserves, find the minimum size of these conservation
areas or reserves, and to determine the composition, structure and processes of ecosystems. An
umbrella species is a plant or animal species with a wide range that has requirements for living
that are as high or higher than other animals in its habitat. This means that if that species'
requirements are met, then those of many other species in its area will be met as well. As such,
these animals are commonly used in conservation. Though this term is related to other
conservation ideas like flagship, keystone, or indicator species, it's actually something very
different. There are criticisms of the umbrella system; however, it has proved helpful in several
There is no international criteria for selecting animals to serve as umbrella species, but generally
speaking, they tend to be large mammals or birds, since they tend to have the greatest range of
environments and often have a large impact on their ecosystem. Many times, endangered or
vulnerable types of animals are chosen, since more people know about them or because
environmental legislation can be more easily used to protect them. Some conservationists make
use of an extended umbrella model, in which they choose several high-needs species that have
overlapping requirements, so that they can have the best chance of meeting the needs of the most
animals possible. Common umbrella species include the Northern spotted owl, tigers, grizzly
bears, rhinoceros, and whales.
Use of Umbrella species:-
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The use of umbrella species is designed to make the conservation and environmental
decision-making process easier.
With so many millions of diverse forms of wildlife requiring monitoring and protection,
it can be difficult to assess the individual needs of every single species.
Since the umbrella species' requirements include those of so many other species,
conservationists can reasonably assume that they've helped all those other species that
share requirements with it when they help it.
This model is also used in creating wildlife reserves.
In this situation, conservationists calculate how much land an umbrella species would
need, and then designate that much land as that animal would need as an area of concern
or a reserve.
Asiatic Wild elephant in Terai is taken as an example of Umbrella species in Nepal
which protects most of the other wildlife in low lands of Nepal.
Criticism on Umbrella species:-
While it is assumed that protecting an umbrella species will automatically provide
protection to other surrounding organisms, this is often hard to monitor in practice.
Some also feel that focusing on only one species at the possible expense of others is not
the best conservation method.
Additionally, little research has been done to confirm whether the umbrella model
actually works,and many of the studies that have been done on it show that it's not always
For example, Noss et al. (1996) found that though grizzly bears would work fairly well as
an umbrella animal, the needs of reptiles in the bears' area would not be covered.
Despite these criticisms, the model has worked well in several situations. For example,
Martinkainen et al. (1998) found that white-backed woodpeckers worked well as an
umbrella for a certain type of beetle.
Related concepts of Umbrella species:-
The idea of choosing one species to help or monitor is also used in choosing a flagship, keystone,
or indicator species. Flagship species are animals that are chosen as the "face" of an
environmental campaign because they're appealing and a lot of people know about them. For
instance, pandas or whales are commonly used as flagship animals
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UNIT 5. RESTORATION OF BIODIVERSITY
5.1 Restoration ecology (principle, aim and practices)
Damaged and degraded ecosystems provide an important opportunity for conservation biologists
to put research findings onto practice by participating in the restoration of the original species
and communities. Restoration is act or process of returning something to its original condition
by repairing it, cleaning it, fixing, mending, refurbishment, reconditioning, rehabilitation,
rebuilding, etc. Ecological restoration is process of intentionally altering a site to establish a
defined, indigenous, historic ecosystem. Restoration ecology refers to research and scientific
study that investigates methods of carrying out these restoration.
Principle, aim and Management recommendations (site/habitat/ecosystem/animal
population restoration): extending or protecting the area concerns (corridors, breeding
sites and or roosts)
developing habitat management initiatives
actively protecting the endangered species (e.g. patrolling)
reducing predation of young by physically excluding potential predators
providing extra food, water and minerals
controlling or eliminating exotic animals
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controlling or eliminating feral animals (domestic animals that have run wild, e.g.
domestic buffalo of Siraha and Saptari in KTWR)
relocating part of a population (locally, nationally, internationally)
restocking and breeding in captivity (e.g. in Nepal- elephant, gharial, tortoise, musk deer,
Timely amendment of legislation or creating new legislation
others: controlling diseases, signed in international treaty like CITIES
5.2 Restoration of site and animal population.
Site is the area covered partially or completely by different vegetation crops. Restoration is
essential due to following reasons:-
Restoring natural capital such as drinkable water or wildlife populations
Mitigating climate change (e.g. through carbon sequestration)
Helping threatened or endangered species
Moral reasons: Human intervention has unnaturally destroyed many habitats, and there
exists an innate obligation to restore these destroyed habitats
Land restoration is the process of ecological restoration of a site to a natural landscape and
habitat, safe for humans, wildlife, and plant communities. Ecological destruction is usually the
consequence of pollution, deforestation, salination or natural disasters. Land restoration is not the
same as land reclamation, where existing ecosystems are altered or destroyed to give way for
cultivation or construction. Land restoration can enhance the supply of valuable ecosystem
services that benefit people. Land restoration can include the process of cleaning up and
rehabilitating a site that has sustained environmental degradation, such as those by natural cause
(desertification) and those caused by human activity (strip mining), to restore that area back to its
natural state as a wildlife home and balanced habitat.
Forest restoration is defined as ―actions to re-instate ecological processes, which accelerate
recovery of forest structure, ecological functioning and biodiversity levels towards those typical
of climax forest‖ i.e. the end-stage of natural forest succession. Climax forests are relatively
stable ecosystems that have developed the maximum biomass, structural complexity and species
diversity that are possible within the limits imposed by climate and soil and without continued
disturbance from humans (more explanation here). Climax forest is therefore the target
ecosystem, which defines the ultimate aim of forest restoration. Since climate is a major factor
that determines climax forest composition, global climate change may result in changing
Forest restoration is a specialized form of reforestation, but it differs from conventional tree
plantations in that its primary goals are biodiversity recovery and environmental protection.
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Scope of forest restoration:-
Forest restoration may include simply protecting remnant vegetation (fire prevention, cattle
exclusion etc.) or more active interventions to accelerate natural regeneration, as well as tree
planting and/or sowing seeds (direct seeding) of species characteristic of the target ecosystem.
Tree species planted (or encouraged to establish) are those that are typical of, or provide a
critical ecological function in, the target ecosystem. However, wherever people live in or near
restoration sites, restoration projects often include economic species amongst the planted trees, to
yield subsistence or cash-generating products.
Forest restoration is an inclusive process, which depends on collaboration among a wide range of
stakeholders including local communities, government officials, non-government organizations,
scientists and funding agencies. Its ecological success is measured in terms of increased
biological diversity, biomass, primary productivity, soil organic matter and water-holding
capacity, as well as the return of rare and keystone species, characteristic of the target ecosystem.
Economic indices of success include the value of forest products and ecological services
generated (e.g. watershed protection, carbon storage etc.), which ultimately contribute towards
poverty reduction. Payments for such ecological services (PES) and forest products can provide
strong incentives for local people to implement restoration projects.
Forest restoration is appropriate wherever biodiversity recovery is one of the main goals of
reforestation, such as for wildlife conservation, environmental protection, eco-tourism or to
supply a wide variety of forest products to local communities. Forests can be restored in a wide
range of circumstances, but degraded sites within protected areas are a high priority, especially
where some climax forest remains as a seed source within the landscape. Even in protected areas,
there are often large deforested sites: logged over areas or sites formerly cleared for agriculture.
If protected areas are to act as Earth‘s last wildlife refuges, restoration of such areas will be
Many restoration projects are now being implemented under the umbrella of ―forest landscape
restoration‖ (FLR) defined as a ―planned process to regain ecological integrity and enhance
human well-being in deforested or degraded landscapes‖. FLR recognizes that forest restoration
has social and economic functions. It aims to achieve the best possible compromise between
meeting both conservation goals and the needs of rural communities. As human pressure on
landscapes increases, forest restoration will most commonly be practiced within a mosaic of
other forms of forest management, to meet.
The desirable outcomes of an FLR program usually comprise a combination of the following,
depending on local needs and aspirations:
identification of the root causes of forest degradation and prevention of further
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positive engagement of people in the planning of forest restoration, resolution of land-use
conflicts and agreement on benefit-sharing systems,
compromises over land-use trade-offs that are acceptable to the majority of stakeholders,
a repository of biological diversity of both local and global value,
delivery of a range of utilitarian benefits to local communities including: -
o a reliable supply of clean water,
o environmental protection particularly watershed services (e.g. reduced soil
erosion, lower landslide risk, flood/drought mitigation etc.),
o a sustainable supply of a diverse range of forest products including foods,
medicines, firewood etc.,
o monetary income from various sources e.g. ecotourism, carbon trading via the
REDD+ mechanism and from payments for other environmental services (PES)
Animal population restoration programe in Nepal are as :-
Translocation of different species
Steps of restoration:-
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5.3 Site condition, ecosystem, habitat parameters, human,
Site condition is the facility obtained in the any site for their wildlife. Some site
condition is favorable to some species but unfavorable to other species. It is
necessary that any site condition fulfill the habitat components for good ecosystem.
Site condition is differ according to the climatic region. The site condition of any
geographical also affect in biodiversity of that place. Ecosystem is also highly
depend upon the site condition. Following parameters reflect the site condition of
An ecosystem is a community made up of living organisms and nonliving components such as
air, water and mineral soil. Ecosystems may be studied either as contingent collections of plants
and animals, or as structured systems and communities that are governed by general rules. The
biotic and abiotic components interact through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems
include a network of interactions among organisms, and between organisms and their
environment. Ecosystems can be of any size but one ecosystem has a specific, limited space.
Some scientists view the entire planet as one ecosystem.
Energy, water, nitrogen and soil minerals are other essential abiotic components of an ecosystem.
The energy that flows through ecosystems comes primarily from the sun, through
photosynthesis. Photosynthesis also captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Animals also
play an important role in the movement of matter and energy through ecosystem. They influence
the amount of plant and microbial biomass that lives in the system. As organic matter dies,
decomposers release carbon back to the atmosphere. This process also facilitates nutrient cycling
by converting nutrients stored in dead biomass back to a form that can be used again by plants
and other microbes. Ecosystems are controlled both by external and internal factors. External
factors such as climate, the parent material that forms the soil, topography and time have a big
impact on ecosystems, but they are not themselves influenced by the ecosystem. Ecosystems are
dynamic: they are subject to periodic disturbances and are in the process of recovering from past
disturbances. Internal factors are different: They not only control ecosystem processes but are
also controlled by them. Internal factors are subject to feedback loops.
Humans operate within ecosystems. The effects of human activities can influence internal and
external factors. Global warming is an example of a cumulative impact of human activities.
Ecosystems provide benefits, called "ecosystem services", which people depend on for their
livelihood. Ecosystem management is more efficient than trying to manage individual species.
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Habitat parameters are those factors which helps in evaluating the habitat condition of any site.
Many parameters are taken for habitat analysis.
5.4 Animal population restoration
For animal population restoration followings steps should adopt:-
Pre-restoration monitoring/Establish existing wildlife conditions
Desired condition development for wildlife
Develop recommended project management actions
Develop a monitoring plan
Reporting of Results
The goal of wildlife monitoring is to determine whether desired conditions are being achieved
with respect to restoration wildlife objectives. To determine if this goal is being met, metrics
need to be chosen to monitor the response of wildlife species to restoration activities. Four
metrics were selected to monitor shared project objectives across restoration sites as well as
provide additional natural history data on species habitat requirements necessary for adequately
developing desired conditions and recommended management activities.
Animal population restoration process in Nepal:-