The Barandabhar forest corridor (BFC) in the Royal Chitwan National Park is an example of a buffer zone implemented to mitigate the effect of local communities on conservation and the effect of conservation on local communities. However, the effectiveness of these actions for conservation may depend on the intensity of human activity and the species considered. We conducted a field survey within the BFC to study how termite mound occurrences relate to forest edges, human activity and canopy cover, and to examine the spatial patterns of the edge effect in terms of dead wood availability, logging and canopy cover. The results show that termite mound abundance was significantly affected by edge effects such that the abundance increased from ~5 mounds/ha along the edge to ~14mounds/ha in the core areas 2 km inside the forest. The forest edge was partly defined by decreased canopy cover and increased signs of logging. Our results suggest that buffer zone practices may be a valid method to mitigate edge effects on termites in core areas. However, we also found indications of human activities effecting canopy cover that could influence the effectiveness of buffer zone management in this area.
Key words: Chitwan, isoptera, spatial distribution, dead wood, gap dynamic, disturbance, microclimate, buffer zone, edge effect.
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