Impact of Exurban Residences on Avian Communities

black-throated blue warblerStudies have shown that the rapidly advancing urbanization has a great adverse effect on the sustainability of many species of birds. To determine this possibility in Adirondack Park, a study was conducted and a total of about 20 species of birds both near and far from as many as 30 rural residences in the Adirondack Park were sampled. The results were quite shocking. Major percentage of the human adapted species preferred to reside near the homes than in the mixed dense conifer forests but the human sensitive species were about 26 % less likely to stay near the homes. The same pattern of occupancy rate was observed beyond 200 from the park.

Rural exurban developments refer to the large sized residences settled away from the busy city and town life and are found to have a lower density than the suburban development. Unlike the suburban development, the exurban development characterize environmentally clean and undisturbed ecosystem. But with the introduction of vehicles, noise, pets and other pollution forming factors the exurban residences have started altering the ecosystem. These have direct or indirect impact on the behavior of different species.

On the other hand, the Adriondackers are quite eco-friendly and care for the environment. It is estimated that establishment of a small home or a tiny lawn can cause visible changes in the bird communities up to about 200 meters which accounts for around 30 acres of surrounding area. In every case, the ecological balance should be maintained, the alteration of which will pose a serious threat to both the human life as well as wildlife. Hence it is the sole responsibility of humans to keep an eye on the different human activities and find ways to prevent or in worst cases at least try to minimize the activities which have an adverse effect on the wild life and birds in exurban areas.

Reports have shown that human sensitive birds are more likely not affected by the human activities in the exurban residencies. These include the blackthroated blue warbler, the hairy woodpecker, the green warbler, the hermit thrush, the winter warn and the scarlet tanager. The presence of so many human sensitive bird species is an indirect indication of the unaltered ecology of the exurban areas. The adapted species are more likely to be found near the exurban residences as compared to those of the resident sensitive species as studied by Dr. Heidi Kretser, the WCS livelihood and conservation coordinator. The obvious consequence of the gradual urbanization even in the forest areas is that the sensitive species are left with no other option but to get to get displaced from these areas. This scenario is very serious and dangerous to human life. The human life is directly or indirectly dependent upon other species to maintain the ecological balance. Altering the balance is the last thought that should come to any individual on this earth.

A research program was conducted in Colorado to study the results in the shrub-oak ecosystem. A 180 meter ecological effect was calculated by the scientists based on their results. These results further confirmed that it is the effect of human activities in the exurban residences which are more prominently affecting the bird life as compared to the other human activities which result in the alteration of habitat which include the cutting, mining and clearing of forests.

For conducting this study of determining the affect of the exurban civilization on the avian community, the breeding avian community was used as sample. These birds served to be excellent indicators of the overall ecology and the biodiversity.

As stated by the program director of WCS Adirondack, Zoe Smith, the Adrirondack park is considered as one of the rare, huge and stable wild ecosystems. The role of the Adirondack Pack is being realized gradually by one and all as the ecological threats like the global warming and sudden climatic changes are on a rise. Man needs to understand the basics of how and what impacts the human development patterns have on the n surrounding environment. Then only we can dream to live a pure, risk-free healthy life.

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