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The presence or re-appearance of desired faunal species is one of the main indicators of restoration progression as per the revival wheel methodology prescribed by the SER restoration standards. One of the largest groups of fauna in a restored terrestrial plot are insects and they are considered reliable indicators of ecosystem recovery. First, insects are highly sensitive to changes in habitat conditions and hence more accurate indicators of restoration progress than avian and mammalian species which show higher adaptability to disturbed conditions. Second, diverse insect assemblages depend on a wide range of micro-habitats and ecological niches. Hence their presence is a strong indicator of the revival of ecosystem diversity. Third, insects play a key role in the recovery of the fundamental aspects of a disturbed site i.e. soil, moisture and vegetation cycles, which form the basic building blocks of a restoration project. This presentation discusses an initiative to survey insect diversity and use this as a monitoring tool in a large-scale restoration project in a dry deciduous forest ecosystem in the Western Ghats of India, a biodiversity hotspot. The six-month study of insect diversity helped assess linkages between the species identified and their habitat and food/prey preferences. This in turn helped assess recovery of associated micro-habitats, vegetation, and prey diversity. Key ecosystem services provided by these insect species were also documented. The study of extended ecosystem linkages associated with prey species provided interesting insights. Over 160 insect species from 12 orders and 54 families were observed, providing a useful baseline.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration