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Oberlin College

Publication Date

Fall 2012

Program Name

Madagascar: Biodiversity and Natural Resource Management

Abstract

Lake Alaotra, the largest lake in Madagascar, is well known for its diverse plant and animal communities. It is home to three critically endangered endemic species, the Alaotran gentle lemur (Hapelemur griseus alaotrensis), Alaotra Little Grebe (Tachybaptus rufolavatus), and Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata). Widespread habitat destruction by fire and clear-cutting is destroying the marshland vegetation of the lake, and siltation from erosion runoff and rice field creation is resulting in the ever-decreasing size of the lake. This study looked at the effectiveness of the protected area, Park Bandro, in preserving species diversity, relative abundances, and species evenness of bird species in the south-eastern area of the lake. Modified line transects were carried out over sixteen days of study during November 2012 along two transect sites: one adjacent to the western edge of Park Bandro (Transect 1), and the other along an unprotected marsh habitat (Transect 2). The study found a total of 30 bird species, and significantly higher numbers of individuals of six bird species along Transect 1 than Transect 2, including the one endangered species identified during the study, Anas melleri. Shannon-Weiner calculations found greater species diversity and evenness along Transect 1 than Transect 2. While further study is recommended, it appears that Park Bandro is aiding to preserve bird species in the area, and such efforts towards conservation should be continued.

Disciplines

Environmental Health and Protection | Environmental Monitoring | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Water Resource Management

 

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