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Large ungulates in tropical forests are among the most threatened taxa of mammals. Excessive hunting, degradation of and encroachments on their natural habitats by humans have contributed to drastic reductions in wild ungulate populations in recent decades. As such, reliable assessments of ungulate-habitat relationships and the spatial dynamics of their populations are urgently needed to provide a scientific basis for conservation efforts. However, such rigorous assessments are methodologically complex and logistically difficult, and consequently many commonly used ungulate population survey methods do not address key problems. As a result of such deficiencies, key parameters related to population distribution, abundance, habitat ecology and management of tropical forest ungulates remain poorly understood.
Spatial Dynamics and Ecology of Large Ungulate Populations in Tropical Forests of India addresses this critical knowledge gap by examining how population abundance patterns in five threatened species of large ungulates vary across space in the tropical forests of the Nagarahole-Bandipur reserves in southwestern India. It also explains the development and application of an innovative methodology – spatially explicit line transect sampling – based on an advanced hierarchical modelling under the Bayesian inferential framework, which overcomes common methodological deficiencies in current ungulate surveys. The methods and results presented provide valuable reference material for researchers and professionals involved in studying and managing wild ungulate populations around the globe.
Dr N. Samba Kumar is currently an Emeritus Scientist at the Centre for Wildlife Studies following his retirement as Director of Research and Training. He holds a master’s degree in Ecology from Pondicherry University and a PhD from Manipal University, India. His research focuses on disentangling complex factors that shape abundance patterns of large mammals and on developing rigorous field survey and analytical methods for monitoring large mammal populations at multiple spatial scales. He has authored/co-authored over 75 scientific articles/reports and one book.
Dr K. Ullas Karanth is the Director of Centre for Wildlife Studies, India, and a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences. He graduated in Wildlife Biology from the University of Florida, Gainesville, USA, and Mangalore University, India, and served as the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society-India program (1988-2017). His research focuses on carnivore ecology and wildlife management. He has authored over 150 scientific articles and 15 technical and popular books.
Dr James D. Nichols recently retired from his position as a government scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. National Biological Survey and the U.S. Geological Survey. After studying at Louisiana State University and Michigan State University, his career has focused on animal population dynamics, biostatistics and decision-making in conservation. He has authored over 400 scientific articles and 10 books.
Mr Srinivas Vaidyanathan is a Senior Research Fellow and trustee of the Foundation for Ecological Research, Advocacy and Learning, India. He graduated in Ecology from Pondicherry University, India. His research focuses on landscape ecology, space-time analysis and connectivity conservation, with a particular interest in understanding the changes in landscape-level structure and processes that affect the distribution and abundance of large mammal populations. He has authored/co-authored over 50 scientific articles/reports and four books.
Dr Beth Gardner is an Associate Professor at the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, in Seattle. She holds M.S. and PhD degrees from Cornell University. She has authored/co-authored over 70 scientific articles and 1 book on capture-recapture models. Her research focuses on statistical models, ecology and population dynamics.
Dr Jagdish Krishnaswamy is a Senior Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru, India. He holds an M.S. degree in Statistics and a PhD in Environmental Science from Duke University, NC, USA. His main areas of research and teaching are ecohydrology, landscape ecology and applied statistics, and he has published over 60 peer-reviewed articles and several book chapters.