Forest disturbance has negative consequences for the persistence of Jamaica’s threatened and endangered bird species in Cockpit Country

Main Article Content

Herlitz Davis

Keywords

Birds, Cockpit Country, Endangered, Forest disturbance, Threatened

Abstract

Abstract Cockpit Country is a globally important area for Jamaica’s threatened and endangered bird species. But habitat disturbance and degradation due to lumber and yam stick extraction, small-scale agriculture, and bauxite mining threaten to disrupt the sensitive ecological processes that maintain both the species and the habitat. Analysis of anthropogenic forest disturbance and point count survey data for birds suggests an association between forest disturbance and bird distribution pat­terns in Cockpit Country. Threatened and endangered birds such as Plain Pigeon (Patagioenas inornata exigua), Crested Quail- Dove (Geotrygon versicolor), and Jamaican Blackbird (Nesopsar nigerrimus) had greater association with undisturbed forest than species of least conservation concern such as Common Ground-Dove (Columbina passerina) and Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis). Although the observed distribution patterns revealed a suite of bird species that could be utilized for monitoring forest disturbance, the approach used in this study needs to be better developed before implementation in Cockpit Country. The results also have implications for the persistence of threatened and endangered bird species given the lack of clarity about boundaries, proper forest management and enforcement, and ongoing efforts to mine bauxite in the area.

Keywords birds, Cockpit Country, endangered, forest disturbance, threatened

 

Resumen El disturbio forestal tiene consecuencias negativas para la subsistencia de las aves amenazadas y en peligro de Jamaica en Cockpit Country—Cockpit Country es un área de importancia mundial para las especies de aves amenazadas y en peligro de Jamaica. Sin embargo, la degradación y el disturbio de hábitat producto de la tala y la extracción de ñame, la agricul­tura a pequeña escala y la explotación de bauxita amenazan con interrumpir los sensibles procesos ecológicos que mantienen tanto a las especies como al hábitat. El análisis de los disturbios forestales por causas antropogénicas y los datos de muestreos de puntos de conteo de aves sugiere una asociación entre el disturbio forestal y los patrones de distribución de aves en Coc­kpit Country. Especies amenazadas y en peligro como Patagioenas inornata exigua, Geotrygon versicolor y Nesopsar nigerrimus tuvieron una mayor asociación con bosques no perturbados que especies de menor preocupación como Columbina passerina y Tyrannus dominicensis. Aunque los patrones de distribución observados revelan que podría utilizarse un grupo de aves para el monitoreo del disturbio forestal, el enfoque empleado en este estudio necesita ser desarrollado mejor antes de su implementa­ción en Cockpit Country. Los resultados también tienen implicaciones para la subsistencia de especies de aves amenazadas y en peligro dada la falta de claridad sobre los límites, la aplicación de la ley la presencia de un manejo forestal adecuado, así como los esfuerzos en curso para la extracción de bauxita en el área.

Palabras clave amenazadas, aves, Cockpit Country, disturbio forestal, en peligro

 

Résumé Conséquences négatives des perturbations des forêts pour le maintien des espèces d’oiseaux menacées et en danger à Cockpit Country en Jamaïque—Cockpit Country est une aire d’importance mondiale pour les espèces d’oiseaux menacées et en danger de la Jamaïque. Toutefois, la perturbation et la dégradation des habitats en raison de l’exploitation du bois et de l’igname, l’agriculture à petite échelle et les mines de bauxite menacent de modifier les processus écologiques sensibles qui maintiennent les espèces et les habitats. L’analyse des perturbations d’origine anthropique de la forêt et des comptages des oiseaux par points suggère l’existence d’un lien entre la perturbation de la forêt et les modèles de répartition des oiseaux à Cockpit Country. Les oiseaux menacés et en danger comme le Pigeon simple (Patagioenas inornata exigua), la Colombe ver­sicolore (Geotrygon versicolor), et le Carouge de la Jamaïque (Nesopsar nigerrimus) sont plus fortement associés à la forêt non perturbée que les espèces dont la conservation est moins préoccupante telles que la Colombe à queue noire (Columbina pas­serina) et le Tyran gris (Tyrannus dominicensis). Bien que les schémas de répartition observés aient mis en évidence une série d’espèces d’oiseaux qui permettrait de suivre les per­turbations forestières, l’approche utilisée dans cette étude doit être développée davantage avant une mise en oeuvre à Cockpit Country. Les résultats ont également des implications pour le maintien des espèces d’oiseaux menacées et en danger, compte tenu du manque de clarté quant aux limites, à la bonne gestion des forêts, et à l’application des lois, ainsi qu’aux efforts actuels d’extraction de la bauxite dans la région.

Mots clés Cockpit Country, espèces en danger, espèces menacées, oiseaux, perturbation des forêts

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