Diversity and relative abundance of hornbills in selectively-logged Production Forests in Central Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo
Opportunistic observations and rapid point count survey data was used in identifying the distribution of hornbill species in three production forests in the interior parts of Sarawak, namely Kapit Forest Management Unit (FMU), Raplex Forest Management Unit (FMU) and Pasin Forest Management Unit (FMU). This assessment was conducted to understand the occurrence and distribution of hornbills in production forest, which is lacking in order to develop an action plan for the conservation of Sarawak’s hornbill population. Records of hornbill observation were noted during forest operations and point count surveys. Point count survey was only conducted for a period of two days at each site. This assessment has provided information on the distribution of six species of hornbills from different coupes with different forest activity at the production forests. The only species that was not detected during this study was the wrinkled hornbills which require additional surveys to confirm its absence in this area. Species diversity was the highest at the future production forest (H’ = 1.16) followed by recently logged forest (H’ = 0.90) and active logging area (H’ = 0.64). The peak hour for hornbill detection appears to be between 0800 hours to 1000 hours in the morning. Production forest can provide resources to hornbills if the fruiting and nesting trees are made available. The occurrence of some of the hornbill species in a production forest complex suggest that these areas can potentially provide habitat to these species if they are managed sustainably. However, the long-term persistence of these species in such forest needs need to be further investigated and carefully interpreted to avoid misleading conclusion on the ability of disturbed forest to support these species of conservation importance.
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