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Modelling current and future suitable habitats for Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin in the eastern Himalayas

Sunuwar, Sujata (2021) Modelling current and future suitable habitats for Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin in the eastern Himalayas.

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Link to full-text:https://library.itc.utwente.nl/papers_2021/msc/nrm/sunuwar.pdf
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Abstract:The Mishmi takin (Budorcas taxicolor taxicolor) and the Bhutan takin (Budorcas taxicolor whitei) are endemic to the eastern Himalayas. They are the two least studied subspecies of the takin (Budorcas taxicolor) and listed as Vulnerable species by the IUCN Red List. Despite the fact that both subspecies are legally protected in their range, their population continues to decline due to poaching, habitat loss and fragmentation over the last few decades. In this study, I modelled current suitable habitats for both Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin in the Eastern Himalayas using ecological niche modelling, and identified the key environmental variables influencing their potential distribution. Furthermore, I tested the niche similarity between these two subspecies and also predicted the potential impact of future climate change on them. The results show that the current suitable habitat for Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin is 28,154 km2 and 15,314 km2, respectively. The key environmental variables determining the habitat suitability for the two subspecies are different. For Mishmi takin, precipitation seasonality and the standard deviation of NDVI are the two most important factors. In the case of Bhutan takin, the needleleaf forest and isothermality are the two major factors. The result also shows that the ecological niches of Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin are similar but not the same. The future climate change will have a significant negative impact on Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin in the Eastern Himalayas. The suitable habitat for the Bhutan takin is expected to disappear completely in the area, while the remaining suitable habitat for the Mishmi takin will also be very few. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first study that predicted the current and future suitable habitat for both Mishmi takin and Bhutan takin in the Eastern Himalayas. The findings of this study provide an important scientific basis for conservation planning of these two subspecies and its associated ecosystem in this region.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
Link to this item:https://purl.utwente.nl/essays/88784
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