Understorey bird abundance and diversity before and after a forest fire in Mangala Forest Reserve on the eastern slopes of the Uluguru Mountains, Tanzania
AbstractIn July 2010 an assessment of abundance and diversity of understorey birds was undertaken in Mangala Forest using mist netting. However, in October 2010 a non-intentional fire burned the entire forest and this event provided a good opportunity to assess the extent to which birds were affected. Assessment, using mist netting, was carried out one week, three months and eight months after the fire, and comparisons made with data obtained before the forest was burned. In total, 28 species were recorded. Of these, the number recorded before the fire, one week post-fire, three months post-fire and eight months post-fire was 22, 3, 3 and 11 species respectively. The understorey bird species diversity before the forest was burned was substantially higher than diversities found afterwards. The results confirm that forest burning can have a severe negative impact on bird abundance and species richness and should be halted. Because fires start from the surrounding farmland, there is a need to construct and maintain fire breaks around entire forests.
Copyright belongs to The Bird Committee of the East Africa Natural History Society.