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With increasing fragmentation of natural areas and a dramatic reduction of forest cover in several parts of the world, quantifying the impact of such changes on species richness and community dynamics has been a subject of much concern. Therefore, this study intends to assess avifaunal biodiversity in fragmented forests. Forest patches between the sizes of 10ha and 700ha were identified in Bhopal Forest Circle (BFC), which covers the Vindhyan plateau. Forest patches were classified based on their size and degree of isolation. A sample of 21 forest fragments was selected using proportional sampling. Bird surveys were conducted using the point count method at each site. Three replicates were taken at each site. Avian species richness of each patch was calculated. The results suggest that species richness is positively associated with the size of the forest patches. Larger forest patches such as Binapur (166ha, Chao 1= 73), Sayar (107ha, Chao 1= 78) and Kalyanpura (133ha, Chao 1= 80) had relatively high species richness, except for patches including Narsinghgarh (393ha, Chao 1= 28) and Singota (184ha, Chao 1= 45) with high levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Smaller forest patches were found to have fewer bird species, although small forest patches with lesser degrees of anthropogenic disturbance such as Lalghati (99ha, Chao 1 = 62), Lasudli (16ha, Chao 1 = 65), Ghot (36ha, Chao 1 = 53), and Nasipur (23ha, Chao 1 =52) were more diverse than other patches. These patches were more protected due to being sacred groves (Lalghati and Lasudli) or under private ownership (Ghot and Nasipur). A total of 131 bird species were recorded from all the sampled forest patches. These results suggest that forest patches embedded in an agrarian landscape play a vital role in conserving biodiversity, hence conservation efforts should also be focused on these forest fragments.
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