Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Biology (PhD)

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Steven L. Stephenson

Committee Member

John D. Willson

Second Committee Member

Brett DeGregorio

Third Committee Member

Ragupathy Kannan


Anthropogenic Change, Climate Change, Drought Effects, Eastern Ghats, Ecology, GIS, India, Land Surface Transformation, Ornithology, Scrubland


Anthropogenic disturbance, in its multiple facets represents a major threat to biodiversity and habitat quality. Consequently, extensive research is guided towards understanding anthropogenic disturbance and their effects on wildlife for development of wildlife management plans. However, for development of effective wildlife management plans it is imperative that we understand the habitat use and preference by local fauna along with effects of anthropogenic presence. In this dissertation, I studied the habitat usage and preferences of Shrubland birds in the Eastern Ghats of India during the pre-monsoon and post monsoon seasons. Eastern Ghats show a marked difference from pre-monsoon season to post-monsoon season thereby affecting the habitat use by birds depending upon various vegetational characteristics identified in this study. I also studied the dependence of local community on the forest products, impact of goats and sheep on forest structure. When juxtaposed with Land Use and Land Change (LULC) patterns these changes in habitat usage, anthropogenic effects it will help in predicting future habitat usage patterns in the face of climate change. This dissertation answers the following questions: 1) Do birds select a habitat based on vegetational structure or floral composition? 2) Is there any association between plant species and bird assemblages? 3) What is the structural preference of a bird assemblages? 4)How has LULC changed over five years owing to drought? 5)Effect of anthropogenic presence on habitat structure.