Traditional agroforestry systems as habitat for avian species: assessing their role in conservation
Honours Bachelor of Science in Forestry
DisciplineNatural Resources Management
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The objective of this study was to explore the role of traditional agroforestry systems in Ecuador, called chakras, in the conservation of avian species. Eleven examples of chakra, including plantations of yuca (Manihot esculenta), cocoa (Theobroma cacao), corn (Zea mays), coffee (Coffea arabica) and plantain (Musa paradisiaca), were studied near the traditional territory of the Kichwa Community of Verde Sumaco in Orellana province, Ecuador. A total of 11 surveys revealed 25 bird species belonging to 11 families across all the chakras, and 80 different plant species belonging to 36 families. The chakras were divided into two categories based on diversity of passerine birds: species-poor and species-rich. There were no tanager species recorded in species-poor chakras, while there were 20 tanager species recorded in species-rich chakras. Observations of hawks were linked significantly to the categories of species-rich and species-poor chakras (test of independence, χ2 = 4.59, p = 0.02). When hawks were present, a lower number of passerine species was observed. No significant correlation was found between bird species richness and plant species richness. However, a number of chakras had legacy trees that provided shelter and nesting, resting and foraging space for various bird species. This study can provide useful information for chakra owners interested in conservation of avian species in an era of natural wildlife habitat loss and degradation.