Alumnus, Eastern Himalaya
Master's in Restoration Ecology, University of Liverpool, UK
Ushma is part of the hornbill telemetry project. She is interested in vertebrate seed dispersal and in small carnivores. She joined NCF in 2013.
Prior to joining NCF, she has worked with Centre for Ecological Sciences, Wildlife Institute of India and Tiger Watch. Her other interests include reading and listening to music.
Pakke Nature Information Centre
A new learning and activity centre for visitors to Pakke Tiger Reserve
- Journal ArticleIn pressVariability in gut passage times for Asian hornbills for large-seeded speciesSarawak Museum Forestry Journal
- Journal Article2016Abundance estimates of the Rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis), and characterisation of a montane subtropical forest in the Indian Eastern Himalaya.Indian Birds, Vol. 12, 4 & 5 14 November 2016
- Journal Article2015Reduced hornbill abundance associated with low seed arrival and altered recruitment in a hunted and logged tropical forestPLOSOne; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120062
Logging and hunting are two key direct threats to the survival of wildlife in the tropics, and also disrupt important ecosystem processes. We investigated the impacts of these two factors on the different stages of the seed dispersal cycle, including abundance of plants and their dispersers and dispersal of seeds and recruitment, in a tropical forest in north-east India. We focused on hornbills, which are important seed dispersers in these forests, and their food tree species. We compared abundances of hornbill food tree species in a site with high logging and hunting pressures (heavily disturbed) with a site that had no logging and relatively low levels of hunting (less disturbed) to understand logging impacts on hornbill food tree abundance. We compared hornbill abundances across these two sites. We, then, compared the scatter-dispersed seed arrival of five large-seeded tree species and the recruitment of four of those species. Abundances of hornbill food trees that are preferentially targeted by logging were two times higher in the less disturbed site as compared to the heavily disturbed site while that of hornbills was 22 times higher. The arrival of scatter-dispersed seeds was seven times higher in the less disturbed site. Abundances of recruits of two tree species were significantly higher in the less disturbed site. For another species, abundances of younger recruits were significantly lower while that of older recruits were higher in the heavily disturbed site. Our findings suggest that logging reduces food plant abundance for an important frugivore-seed disperser group, while hunting diminishes disperser abundances, with an associated reduction in seed arrival and altered recruitment of animal-dispersed tree species in the disturbed site. Based on our results, we present a conceptual model depicting the relationships and pathways between vertebrate-dispersed trees, their dispersers, and the impacts of hunting and logging on these pathways.
- Dataset2015Data of a study investigating impacts of hunting and logging on abundance of hornbills, dispersed seeds and recuits in north-east Indiahttp://dx.doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1cf35
A study was carried out to investigate impacts of logging and hunting on hornbills (which are important seed dispersers), their large-seeded food plants, arrival of scatter-dispersed seeds of these plants and the recruitment pattern of these plants across a site experiencing logging and hunting pressures and a protected area site which did not experience these anthropogenic pressures. The associated data of the study is uploaded here.
- Report2015Hornbill Watch Report June 2014 to May 2015May 2015, www.hornbills.inDownload
PDF, 813 KB
An update that summarises the information obtained on Indian hornbills contributed by people on the Hornbill Watch website for one year (June 2014 to May 2015).
- Report2014Density of Rufous-necked hornbills and their food plants in Eaglenest Wildlife SanctuaryReport to Arunachal Pradesh Forest Departmemt
- Journal Article2013Records of small carnivores from in and around Namdapha Tiger Reserve, Arunachal Pradesh, India.Small Carnivore Conservation 49: 1-8.Download
PDF, 2.17 MB
For most of Northeast India’s diverse assemblage of small carnivores, direct observations and ecological information are limited. Opportunistic direct observations and camera-trap records from 2008 to 2013 in eastern Arunachal Pradesh recorded 11 small carnivore species of the 20 likely to occur. Observations included the first confirmed Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata sighting from India; dietary observations of five species and hunting of two species.