SPECIES HABITAT RELATIONSHIPS OF SPOTTED DEER THROUGH GEO-SPATIAL ANALYSIS AT KANHA NATIONAL PARK: A CLUSTER ORIENTED STUDYKamonasish Mistry and Debashis Roy
The SAD (Species Abundance Distribution) and SDMs (Species Distribution Models) of species are important to understand the species habitat relationships. The major herbivores which are the primary prey of tigers and leopards in the tiger reserves are of special interest. In the present study we have focused on spotted deer (Axis axis) clusters of different size to understand the species habitat relationship in Kanha N.P. Distribution of Spotted deer were tracked by analyzing satellite images of forest patches and GPS enabled photographs of spotted deer clusters. The habitat heterogeneity of the forest and its roles in the distribution of the spotted deer clusters were determined. Major determining factors like elevational variations, stream drainage system, types of forests covers and land use; those contribute towards spotted deer distribution were also considered. Forest types of different NDVI values were found to have dynamic impact on the spotted deer population & distribution. It was also found that the spotted deer clusters of different sizes have reasonable impact on the habitat herbivores relationships. Therefore it is suggested that conservation of forest types with respect to the spotted deers are to be done considering different cluster sizes of spotted deer populations. Special attentions are to be given on the cluster specific analysis while framing the species habitat relationships, SDMs and SAD for a comprehensive and realistic outcome. In tiger reserves like Kanha national park, such practices are highly recommended for the conservation of habitats, spotted deers and the major generalist predators like tigers and leopards.