Photos from the Field. Sheshadri: Selective Logging & Frogs in India
Seshadri, K. S. (2014), Effects of Historical Selective Logging on Anuran Communities in a Wet Evergreen Forest, South India. Biotropica, 46: 615–623. doi: 10.1111/btp.12141
Vast areas of tropical evergreen forests have been selectively logged in the past, and many areas continue to be logged. The impacts of such logging on amphibians are poorly understood. I examined the response of anuran communities to historical selective logging in a wet evergreen forest in south India. Anuran assemblages in unlogged forest were compared with assemblages in selectively logged forest. Forty 10 m × 10 m quadrats in forest, riparian zones, and streams of unlogged and selectively logged forests were searched at night for anurans. Species richness did not appear to be affected by logging. However, anuran density varied significantly and was 42 percent lower in selectively logged forests compared to unlogged forests. Anuran densities also varied significantly across microhabitats, with highest densities in streams of both selectively logged and unlogged forests. Patterns of niche overlap varied with selective logging as niche breadth either expanded, contracted, or remained neutral for different species. Ordination analysis explained 95 percent of the variation in species assemblage across selectively logged and unlogged forests. The assemblage in selectively logged forest was nested within unlogged forest. Among the habitat characteristics, litter thickness and water depth had the highest influence on the assemblage. This was followed by litter/water temperature, air temperature, and lastly relative humidity. It appears that species richness and composition of anurans in selectively logged forests is converging with unlogged forests, but the effects of historical logging seem to persist on anuran densities and their niche characteristics even ca 40 yr since logging ceased.
Press Release on the research can be found here