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Comparative account of faunal diversity of four major Islands (Bets) in Little Rann of Kachchh (LRK), Gujarat, India

Author Affiliations

  • 1Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Indroda Nature Park, P.O. Sector-7, Gandhinagar, Gujarat-382 007, India
  • 2Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Indroda Nature Park, P.O. Sector-7, Gandhinagar, Gujarat-382 007, India
  • 3Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Indroda Nature Park, P.O. Sector-7, Gandhinagar, Gujarat-382 007, India
  • 4Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation, Indroda Nature Park, P.O. Sector-7, Gandhinagar, Gujarat-382 007, India

Int. Res. J. Biological Sci., Volume 7, Issue (6), Pages 9-19, June,10 (2018)

Abstract

\'Bets\' (i.e., islands) are the unique ecosystems in the saline desert of the Little Rann of Kachchh (LRK) in Gujarat State, India. There are around 74 bets in the LRK and larger ones among them can be considered to be the "oases" amidst the vast saline flats of the Rann owing to relatively better vegetation status (sometimes with freshwater availability). Owing to relatively better vegetation status, bets also support relatively richer fauna. The present study focused on having a comparative account of the faunal diversity of major islands (locally called \'bets\') that have area larger than 1000 ha which included Pung bet, Jilandhar bet, Nanda bet and Mardak bet. The field study was conducted between October 2015 and March 2017. Out of the four major bets, highest faunal species diversity was recorded on Nanda bet (i.e., Birds=117 species, Mammals=22 species, Herpetofauna=12 species). The second-highest faunal species diversity was recorded on the Mardak bet (i.e., Birds=67 species, Mammals=17 species, Herpetofauna=7 species), Jilandhar bet had the third-highest faunal species, whereas Pung bet, despite its largest area among all the major bets had the lowest faunal species richness (Birds=12 species, Mammals=10 species and Herpetofauna=2 species). Remote sensing based Land Use Land Cover assessment of various bets indicated that among these bets, Nanda bet (having 2032 ha area) had the highest habitat diversity (13 habitats), followed by Mardak bet (10 habitats) and Jilandhar bet (10 habitats) in that order. Pung bet, despite its largest area (i.e., 459200 ha) had the lowest habitat diversity (8 habitats). Thus, the study has inferred that higher habitat diversity on the large sized bets (and not just the area of the bets) might be facilitating higher faunal species richness. With the use of Jaccard's Similarity Index (JSI), it was further found that faunal species composition of, Nanda bet and Mardak bet had high species similarity with respect to birds and mammal's species. On the contrary, for herpetofaunal species, Jilandhar and Pung bet had indicated high degree of species similarity.

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