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V. Jolli and M. Pandit

Influence of Human Disturbance on the Abundance of Himalayan Pheasant (Aves, Galliformes) in the Temperate Forest of Western Himalaya, India

We conducted field studies in the Jiwa valley (Indian Himalayas) to examine the influence of human disturbance on Himalayan pheasants. We used the "call count" and "line transect" methods to estimate the abundance of pheasants in Jiwa valley. A human disturbance gradient defined by human population, agriculture activity, forest wood collection, grazing, vehicle, use of heavy machines, human settlements, dumping ground, and blasting was prepared. We assessed the pheasant numbers under two conditions (1) a decline in the gradient of human activity during two consecutive years (2009-2010) (2) in the presence of hydroelectric development activities. The numbers of koklass pheasants, Himalayan monal, cheer pheasant and Western tragopan declined significantly with anthropogenic activities. During spring 2010, hydroelectric construction activity was temporarily suspended in Manjhan adit, and a positive response was noted in terms of an increase in the pheasant numbers near the site. The response of pheasants to human disturbance has inferred that large scale development can lead to decline of Himalayan pheasant in Himalayan region.