A COMPARISON OF FLORAL AND FAUNAL DIVERSITY BETWEEN TWO SMALL, DISTURBED FOREST PATCHES IN SRI LANKAâ€™S CENTRAL HIGHLANDSAuthors: A.M. Kittle,P.H.S.C.Kumari,D.G.Pathirana,H.K.N.Sanjeewani,H.T.J. Seneviratne,A.C.Watson
Forest fragmentation is one of the leading global causes of biodiversity decline and species loss. The degree of threat to remaining forest patches in heavily fragmented regions is partially a function of their size and distance from larger, intact wilderness areas. To understand biodiversity loss in fragmented landscapes it is necessary to have baseline data with which future comparisons can be made. Here we conducted a number of taxa-specific biodiversity surveys and measured species richness, evenness and endemism in two patch forests in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka that differ in terms of their relative size and distance from larger forest tracts. Results show that diversity indices were relatively low in both sites, consistent with their disturbed nature, but that no one site was consistently more diverse than the other. Bird and butterfly diversity was higher in the larger, more isolated patch but floristic diversity higher in the smaller, less remote patch. This suggests that size and distance alone are insufficient to determine patch forest diversity and that other factors impact species diversity. Current and historic land use practices are important to consider as is the specific siting of each patch. This last point is exemplified by the high level of species endemism in Duckwari which is in close proximity to the Knuckles Conservation Forest, an area of the country particularly rich in endemic species. Overall, small patch forests form an important component of Sri Lanka’s natural heritage and continue to act as reservoirs for future biodiversity preservation.
Keywords: Biodiversity, Endemic species, Fragmentation, Species evenness, Species richness
How to Cite: Kittle,A.M,Kumari,P.H.S.C,Pathirana,D.G,Sanjeewani,H.K.N, Seneviratne,H.T.J,Watson,A.C, (2016). A COMPARISON OF FLORAL AND FAUNAL DIVERSITY BETWEEN TWO SMALL, DISTURBED FOREST PATCHES IN SRI LANKAâ€™S CENTRAL HIGHLANDS.WILDLANKA, 4(3):Pages 133-140
Department of Wildlife Conservation,
No: 811/A, Jayanthipura,