Aspire Grant Program Awardee



Communities and Habitat Association of Understory Birds in Three Altitudinal Zones of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda.

Uganda —

The zonation of montane landscapes is a widely studied phenomenon. These landscapes are characterised by rapid gain in altitude and decreasing temperatures over short distances. The result is creation of climatic bands, along the altitudinal gradient that influence ecological communities.

Although birds are known to exhibit niche plasticity, many are restricted to particular habitat types with limited tolerance to habitat alteration. The unique climatic conditions, usually very different from the surrounding habitats, act as bio filters hosting rare and restricted range species of birds.

Like the rest of the Albertine rift, Bwindi is predicted to suffer the impacts of climate change. Climate change is associated with habitat alteration that can result into extinction of habitat specialist birds.

This study shall investigate the association of understory bird communities and selected habitat features, including; topography, canopy openness, stem density, stem basal area and herbaceous layer cover in the three altitudinal zones of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. I will also run an indicator species analysis, to determine species of understory birds that are characteristic indicators for the three altitudinal zones.

The findings can be a baseline on which future monitoring can rely. Monitoring is important to guide conservation planning, tourism development and resource allocation.

This award was supported by JRS Biodiversity.