Developing a protected area network in the Nicobar islands: the perspective of endemic avifauna
Author: Sankaran, R.
Source: Biodiversity and Conservation, Volume 6, Number 6, 1997 , pp. 797-815(19)
Abstract:Though nearly 30% of the Nicobar islands are protected as nature reserves, patterns of endemism have not been considered, resulting in an ineffective protection of the islands. I propose a protected area network for the Nicobar islands based on two criteria. First, I examine the distribution and status of endemic avifauna to prioritize areas for conservation action, based on biological criteria. Second, I examine certain socio-political considerations, and the threats arising from them, and propose a protected area network that will mitigate these threats. On the basis of the distribution of endemic avifauna, I conclude that there are three distinct subgroups, Great Nicobar, Nancowry and Car Nicobar, in the Nicobar islands. Because of the distinctiveness of avifauna assemblages and the similarity in the number of endemics present, each subgroup merits equal conservation attention. The distribution of endemic avifauna indicates that the development of protected areas on Great Nicobar, Camorta and Katchall, and satellite protected areas on Little Nicobar and Nancowry, is necessary for effective protection of the Nicobar islands. The status of the endemic avifauna indicates that the Nancowry subgroup is most urgently in need of conservation action. As the major threat to the Nicobar islands arises from habitat loss due to development activity, there is a need to incorporate all remaining contiguous habitat into protected areas, whereby the islands are adequately safeguarded by legislation from future development threats. I examine the existing protected areas in the Nicobar islands and propose the redesigning of the existing Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve and the creation of the Nancowry Biosphere Reserve with a view to curtail future habitat loss.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History Kalampalayam, PO, Coimbatore 641 010, India
Publication date: January 1, 1997