Geospatial Analysis of Habitat Suitability for Himalayan Serow Capricornis sumatraensis (Bechstein, 1799) in Annapurna Conservation Area of Nepal by using MaXent Model

Document Type : Research articles

Author

Forest Ecology and Climate Change Division, Forest Research Institute, Dehradun India

10.22067/ijab.2022.79064.1041

Abstract

Capricornis sumatraensis is the only sub-species of Serow that exists in Nepal. Serow (Capricornis sumatraensis) is a threatened species that has been recorded and distributed across the protected mountainous areas of Nepal. Since very few studies have been known for this species, we conducted a study into the habitat suitability map, vegetation preference and threats of Himalayan Serow in the Annapurna Conservation Area. A preliminary systematic survey was conducted to record the presence or absence. Secondary information included satellite imagery [Band 1-7 (30 m resolution) and Band 8 (15 M), topo-maps [features and settlement], Google Earth, and shapefiles. MAXENT and ArcGIS were used for data analysis for the habitat suitability mapping. Vegetation sample plots were established and IVI was calculated from the field data for mapping vegetation preference. A focus group discussion, a questionnaire survey, and a key informant survey were done, and the Relative Threat Factor Severity Index (RTFSI) was used for ranking the threats for the threat assessment. 18.3% of the total habitat was highly suitable, 16.8% was suitable, and 64.76% was not suitable for Serow. A Quercus semecarpifolia and Rhododendron arboreum-dominated forest was found to be the preferred habitat. In the preferred habitat, Drepanostachyum falcatum and Girardinia diversifolia were the dominant shrubs, and Anaphalis busua and Tracheophyta were dominant herbs. Poaching and hunting (0.927), open grazing (0.727), illegal resource collection (0.617), climate change (0.573) and development activities (0.447) were observed as major threats to the Himalayan Serow. This study strongly recommended the necessity of effective law enforcement in coordination with local people to reduce the threat of hunting and poaching. Conservation of preferred species is equally important for the enhancement of Himalayan Serow.

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