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Unreported yet massive deforestation driving loss of endemic biodiversity in Indian Himalaya


Pandit, MK and Sodhi, NS and Koh, LP and Bhaskar, A and Brook, BW, Unreported yet massive deforestation driving loss of endemic biodiversity in Indian Himalaya, Biodiversity and Conservation, 16, (1) pp. 153-163. ISSN 0960-3115 (2007) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2006 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10531-006-9038-5


Deforestation is a primary driver of biotic extinctions in the tropics. The impacts of deforestation in tropical biodiversity hotspots are of particular concern because these regions contain high concentrations of globally endemic species. However, the effects of large-scale deforestation on native biotas within the biodiversity hotspot of Himalaya remain poorly documented. Here we report on an alarming trend of deforestation in the Indian Himalaya and project the likely consequential extinctions of endemic taxa (species and subspecies) by 2100 across a broad range of taxonomic groups, including gymnosperms, angiosperms, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. With the current level of deforestation, by 2100 only about 10% of the land area of the Indian Himalaya will be covered by dense forest (>40% canopy cover)a scenario in which almost a quarter of the endemic species could be wiped out, including 366 endemic vascular plant taxa and 35 endemic vertebrate taxa. We also show that inaccurate reporting of forest cover data by governmental institutions can result in underestimations of the biological impacts of deforestation, as well as potential miscalculations in land-use decisions (e.g., the construction of hydroelectric dams). Large-scale conservation efforts, including forest protection and reforestation, are urgently needed to avoid the impending deforestation-driven biodiversity losses in the Himalaya.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:extinctions, hot spots, deforestation, species-area relationship, endemic species
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Conservation and biodiversity
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Brook, BW (Professor Barry Brook)
ID Code:116315
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:143
Deposited By:Biological Sciences
Deposited On:2017-05-05
Last Modified:2017-09-04

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