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Bruce G. Marcot 

updated:  20 July 2017



photos and stories of India ... from my Ecology Picture of the Week (EPOW) -- a growing collection

photos of Corbett National Park ... in published article in Indian Life & Style magazine



journals, book chapters ----------  (listed in decreasing chronological order)

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and R. Patel. 2017. Wildlife conservation in fragmented tropical forests. A case of South Garo Hills, Meghalaya, North East India. Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany. 154 pp.    
     Abstract:  This book is based on the work done for a long term (1996-2005) research and application project entitled, ‘Management of Forests in India for Biological Diversity and Forest Productivity - A New Perspective’ by the Wildlife Insitute of India, an autonomous institute of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service and the State Forest Department, Meghalaya.

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and R. Patel.  2017.  Tropical forests and fragmentation. A case of South Garo Hills, Meghalaya, North East India.  Lambert Academic Publishing, Saarbrücken, Germany.  166 pp.   
     Abstract:  This study presents an ecological assessment of tropical forests at stand and landscape levels to provide knowledge, tools and, indicators to evaluate specific diversity patterns and related ecological processes happening in these tropical forest conditions; and for monitoring landscape changes for managing forest and wildlife resources of Jhum (shifting cultivation) in the Garo Hills of western Meghalaya State, northeast India. Specifically, we focused on the following objectives: (1) to analyze landscape characteristics with special reference to forest fragmentation for evaluating critical wildlife habitats; and (2) to assess diversity patterns and successional changes among tree communities in various forest land-use categories. This volume is a synthesis and compilation of findings on tropical forests and fragmentation from a long-term (1996-2012) research and application project initially entitled "Management of Forests in India for Biological Diversity and Forest Productivity - A New Perspective."   

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, G. Talukdar, and P. S. Roy. 2012. Application of geoinformatics for landscape assessment and conserving forest biodiversity in northeast India. Asian Journal of Geoinformatics 12(1):Online:  [2.7 MB PDF]  
     Abstract:  Herein, we summarize our work, within forest ecosystems of Garo Hills in northeast India, on mapping vegetation and land cover conditions, delineating wildlife habitat corridors among protected areas, evaluating forest conservation values of influence zones bordering protected areas, analyzing dispersion patterns of native forests, and determining potential effects of shifting-cultivation agriculture and anthropogenic stressors on an umbrella species (Asian elephant) as an indicator of forest biodiversity. This work demonstrates our use of multiple geoinformatic methods to help advise on conservation of native forests, wildlife, and biodiversity at the landscape scale. We also suggest some recent advances in geoinformatic techniques and models that could be further applied to our study area and beyond.

Marcot, B. G., A. Kumar, G. Talukdar, and A. Srivastava. 2011. Habitat relationships of Asian elephants in shifting-cultivation landscapes of Meghalaya, northeast India. Gajah 34:8-17.  [327 KB PDF]
     Abstract: Major landscape correlates of densities and population changes of Asian elephants (Elaphas maximus) in Jaintia, Khasi, and Garo Hills of Meghalaya, northeast India, were determined from elephant census periods of 1993, 1998, 2002, and 2008. Analysis suggests a statistically significant 40% decline in elephant numbers in Garo Hills between 1993 and 2002, but a more stable population throughout Meghalaya. Crude density of elephants in Garo Hills was significantly and positively correlated with native forest cover, sal/teak forest cover, water, medium vegetation patchiness, intact vegetation porosity, and proportion of census zones in protected areas; and negatively correlated with village density, and proportion of census zones in bamboo, degraded, current jhum, abandoned jhum, porous vegetation, and fragmented vegetation conditions. Linear regression modeling also suggested significant influence on elephant density from: percent cover in deciduous forest and high terrain complexity (positive influences); and medium terrain complexity, village density, and bamboo cover. Higher elephant densities occurred in elephant census zones with 50% of the landscape in native forest cover; < 30% of the landscape in current jhum and abandoned jhum combined; < 5% of the landscape in current jhum alone; < 20% of the landscape in high forest patchiness (caused by jhum); and village density < about 0.4/km2. Along with habitat corridors, these values can be used to guide conservation or restoration of habitat conditions for elephant conservation. 

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and G. Talukdar. 2010. Designing a protected area network for conservation planning in jhum landscapes of Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Journal of the Indian Society of Remote Sensing 38(3):501-512.  [4.1 MB PDF
     Abstract: We studied vegetation and land cover characteristics within the existing array of protected areas (PAs) in South Garo Hills of Meghalaya, northeast India and introduce the concept of protected area network (PAN) and methods to determine linkages of forests among existing PAs. We describe and analyse potential elements of a PAN, including PAs, reserved forests, surrounding buffers as zones of influence, and connecting forest corridors, which collectively can provide old-forest habitat for wildlife species linked across a landscape dominated by jhum (shifting cultivation) agriculture. ANOVA and Chi-square analyses of patch characteristics and forest tree diversity suggested the presence of equally species-rich and diverse old forest cover (tropical evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous forest types) in portions of unprotected private and community owned land, which could be designated as additions to, and network linkages among, existing PAs. Such additions and linkages would help provide for conservation of elephants and existing native forest biodiversity and would constitute a PAN in the region. Most (80%) of the total forest cover of the region belongs to private or community owned land. Therefore, such additions could be formally recognized under the aegis of the 2003 amendments of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, which include provisions to designate selected forest patches within private lands as Community Reserves.

Kumar, A., and B. G. Marcot.  2010.  Key tiger habitats in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya.  Journal of Chemo and Biosphere 1(1):90-98. [860 KB PDF
    Abstract: Recent changes in land use and increasing forest fragmentation have resulted in habitat loss and declines in tiger populations in various parts of India. The Garo Hills region of western Meghalaya, which once held good tiger populations, has not reported any tigers during recent census operations, although other evidence suggests that a few tigers remain. The paper describes assumed habitat characteristics of tigers and attempts to identify potential tiger habitats in South Garo Hills region. Conserving large forest tracts and protected wildlife habitats provides an opportunity for restoring populations of wide-ranging wildlife such as tigers and elephants. Based on limited field observations coupled with focused group discussion with local villagers and senior staff members of the wildlife wing of the State Forest Department of Megahlaya, we have identified 20 localities in South Garo Hills, which if protected and managed for tiger conservation, could help restore this fast disappearing species. A landscape approach to wildlife management, including designation of intact forest corridors among protected areas and reserved forests, could greatly contribute to conservation of tigers, elephants, and overall biodiversity. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (erstwhile Project Tiger) and Project elephant may work jointly to protect the immense biodiversity of Garo Hills.

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and P. S. Roy. 2008. Spatial patterns and ecology of shifting forest landscapes in Garo Hills, India. Pp. 125-139 in: R. Lafortezza, J. Chen, G. Sanesi, and T. R. Crow, eds. Patterns and processes in forest landscapes: Multiple use and sustainable management. Springer, Heidelberg, Germany. 426 pp. [2.6MB PDF]  
    Abstract:  In many parts of the world, increasing rates of shifting cultivation -- also called slash-and-burn cultivation, swidden, and (in India) jhum -- has compromised native forest biodiversity. We explore this relationship with a case study from northeast India where much of the remaining, intact, old tropical forest is found in the few protected areas and reserved forests (collectively PAs) of the region, and where jhum has largely permeated much of the rest of the landscape. Our analysis and mapping of land use and cover types, levels of forest fragmentation, and occurrence of jhum lands suggests that: buffer zones around PAs could contain additional, intact forest; incursion into PAs can reduce their effective interior core forest area; and forest wildlife habitat, particularly for Asian elephant, can be delineated among PAs in corridors consisting of low-fragmented, native forest cover. As human population density and concomitant anthropogenic stressors increase, however, more severe effects of increased rates of jhum on forest biodiversity will be felt. Offsetting such effects will entail not just redirecting jhum activities but also addressing the full cultural, social, economic, and even religious context in which shifting cultivation is pursued. Solutions must consider effects on nutrition, health, education, economic trade, and traditional lifestyles.

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and P. S. Roy. 2006. Spatial patterns and processes for shifting cultivation landscape in Garo Hills, India. Pp. 63-70 in: R. Lafortezza and G. Sanesi, eds. Patterns and processes in forest landscapes. Consequences of human management. Proceedings of the 4th Meeting of IUFRO Working Party 8.01.03, Sept. 26-29, Locorotondo, Bari, Italy. Accademia Italiana di Scienze Forestali [Italian Academy of Forestry Science], The Netherlands. 551 pp. [565KB PDF]
    Abstract:  We analysed a few spatial patterns and processes of a shifting cultivation landscape in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya state in North East India, where about 85 % of land belongs to native community. The landscape comprised 2459 km2 of land with forest cover and shifting cultivation patches over 69% and 7% area of landscape, respectively. The mean patch sizes ± standard deviations for forest cover and shifting cultivation patches were 0.17 ± 1.86 km2 and 0.03 ± 0.04 km2, respectively. The low fragmentation areas between adjacent PAs and RFs were identified as potential wildlife (elephant) habitat corridors and the Core Area (CA) model revealed 591 patches that held 1468 km2 area inside 500m from nearest edge of patches. Landscape with >40% of forest cover and <30% of current or abundant jhum cover with <2% annual jhum have been reported to support higher elephant densities in study area.

Kumar, A., B. G. Marcot, and A. Saxena. 2006. Tree species diversity and distribution patterns in tropical forests of Garo Hills. Current Science 91(10):1370-1381. [305KB PDF]
    Abstract:  We analyzed phytosociological characteristics and diversity patterns of tree species of tropical forests of Garo Hills, western Meghalaya, northeast India. The main vegetation of the region included primary forests, secondary forests, and sal (Shorea robusta) plantations, with 162, 132, and 87 tree species, respectively. The Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H') of trees within 21 1-ha belt-transects in PF was 4.27, which is comparable to the world's richest tropical forests. Statistical results revealed that primary forests were more tree-rich and diverse than were secondary forests or sal plantations. Results of the study will help forest managers in conservation planning of the tropical forest ecosystem of the northeast India.

Lehmkuhl, J. F., P. K. Mathur, V. B. Sawarkar, R. S. Holthausen, B. G. Marcot, and M. G. Raphael. 2006. Managing Indian forests for biological diversity and productivity. Pp. 92-114 in: J. A. McNeely, T. M. McCarthy, A. Smith, L. Olsvig-Whittaker, and E. D. Wikramnayake, eds. Conservation biology in Asia. Society for Conservation Biology Asia Section and Resources Himalaya Foundation, Kathmandu, Nepal. 461 pp. [2.4MB PDF]
    Abstract:  We describe an approach for integrating protected areas, managed forests, community-owned forests, and the intervening human-dominated matrix to conserve biodiversity and to provide economic and social benefits to urban and rural sectors in forests of India. The Wildlife Institute of India, US Forest Service, Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy, and several state Forest Departments began this work in 1995. We identified four pilot Conservation Areas (CA) that represent major Indian ecosystems: Terai (north India), Garo Hills (northeast), Satpura Range (central), and Anaimalai Hills (south). In each CA we did a biodiversity assessment, compiled wildlife-habitat relationships information, evaluated forest practices and human use, developed management strategies, and worked with field staff to identify management opportunities. A 6-volume management guide ( presents the approach, wildlife-habitat relationships, and results of the four CA case studies. Primary lessons learned were to think broadly across landscapes; coordinate inventory data and analyses; integrate management across ownerships and allocations; consider cumulative effects; refocus silvicultural and other management practices toward biodiversity issues, as well as meeting human needs; and work with field managers and local user communities of the forest. The transition to “biodiversity-based forestry” will require continuing education for professionals and experimentation using adaptive management.

Marcot, B. G., and J. B. Nyberg. 2005. The future of forest biodiversity conservation amidst development: reflection and vision. International Forestry Review 7(5):21. [abstract]
    Abstract:  Evaluating anthropogenic influences on biodiversity should span freshwater, aquatic, marine, and terrestrial environments. Protected areas alone cannot save biodiversity because boundary effects pervade landscapes, as learnt from the situation in Zimbabwe. Instead, we should clearly articulate goals and realistic expectations for biodiversity elements on each land use allocation, as being attempted in India. Relying only on threatened, endemic, indicator, flagship, and umbrella species will not suffice. We must look across taxonomic and functional groups, and also better account for local extirpations of species, subspecies, demes, and metapopulations. We need a clear classification and valuation method of ecosystem services. Trends of simplification as seen in Germany and China, and the conversion and loss of forests witnessed in Ecuador, have degraded biodiversity, but variable retention in Canadian forests and selection harvesting practices adopted in Russia, can help maintain forest biodiversity elements. Integrating cultural and religious interests with sustenance and conservation will be a major theme in Alaska, , northern Canada, Malawi, and northeast India. We need to emphasize biodiversity conservation more at local project scales as in Cameroon and Congo, and encourage partnerships among landowners and local residents. Governments can assist by providing incentives for stewardship as well as legislated conservation mandates and targets. Landscape ecology should be used to redesign urban sprawl and reduce impacts on hydrologic systems as in Florida. Ultimately, population density and growth in countries like China, India, and Mexico will determine what our planet will be capable of producing and supporting for centuries to come.

Marcot, B. G., A. Kumar, P. S. Roy, V. B. Sawarkar, A. Gupta, and S. N. Sangama. 2002. Towards a landscape conservation strategy: analysis of jhum landscape and proposed corridors for managing elephants in South Garo Hills District and Nokrek area, Meghalaya. (English with Hindi summary). The Indian Forester (February):207-216. [1.2MB PDF]
    Abstract:  In the South Garo Hills District and Norkrek area of western Meghalaya, statistical analyses suggest very low elephant densities and greatest declines of elephants in areas with >10% bamboo and secondary forest (6-10 years old) and >10% scrub and abandoned jhum fields (old fallow jhum 3-6 years old). Elephant densities are highest, and declines are the least, in areas with >25% semi-evergreen forest (old secondary forests 15-30+ years old). Data on elephant sign (use) in the field generally support these findings, with selection by elephants (i.e., use significantly exceeding availability) for native semi-evergreen forest, and lack of selection (use significantly less than availability) for deciduous forests (including sal forest, teak, and cashew plantations) and for scrub and abandoned jhum fields. To maintain elephant populations in the South Garo Hills District and Nokrek area, we suggest official delineation of 7 elephant habitat corridors that we mapped as having low degree of fragmentation of forest cover and a high proportion of contiguous, semi-evergreen and evergreen forest cover.

Marcot, B. G. 2001. Visiting scientist report - WII-USFS collaborative project. Wildlife Institute of India Newsletter 8(3):6. 
      From 23 August to 16 September I visited the WII campus along with 3 other U.S. colleagues (Dr. Martin Raphael, Dr. John Lehmkuhl, and Mr. Richard Holthausen). This was one of the final technical team visits from the U.S. for the WII-U.S. Forest Service Collaboration Project on "A Guide for Managing Forests for Biological Diversity and Forest Productivity." Phase I of the project was 1990-1994, and Phase II 1995-2001. The WII Principal Investigator is Shri V. B. Sawarkar, Dean, Faculty of Wildlife Science.
    This major, 11-year project has provided a new way of thinking about managing for biodiversity at the landscape scale, by taking into account all types of lands, across multiple spatial scales, for multiple wildlife species and resource management needs. We have together provided a conceptual framework, the scientific basis, specific procedures for analysis and operations, and evaluations of selected demonstration areas, about how to integrate resource assessment and management for biodiversity at the landscape level.
    Final products of the project, due in November 2001, will include a 6-volume series, to be printed by WII. The volumes are being produced in collaboration and intense interaction among four full-time researchers, the U.S. team of scientists, selected WII faculty, field managers of four field project sites, and representative faculty from collaborating institutions of IGNFA and the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing.
    Volume 1 is addressing the conceptual and scientific basis for the approach, and should be of use to any manager or researcher interested in such an approach anywhere. Volume 2 is on wildlife-habitat relationships and will include a framework for how to evaluate multiple wildlife species simultaneously, and narrative summaries of life histories of 184 wildlife species selected to represent various criteria of rarity, endemism, management focus, habitat associations, and other factors. Volumes 3-6 are intensive case studies of four "conservation areas" selected across India to represent a great diversity of cultural situations, ecological conditions, site histories, and management challenges. The four sites include the Anamalais in south India, the Garo Hills of western Meghalaya in the northeast, the Satpura ranges in central India, and the Terai of the greater Dudhwa National Park region.
    Many useful lessons have already been learned from this project, principally the need to think broadly across major landscape areas when managing for native species and communities. This includes the need to coordinate data, analyses, and management across different land ownerships and allocations. Cumulative effects in buffer areas or zones of influence outside existing protected areas, or even along international borders, are also to be taken into account when developing site-specific management plans. Also, an integrated resource management approach at all spatial scales is seen as the best way to avoid conflicts in resource use and to plan for appropriate ways to conserve biodiversity in managed forests.

Kumar, A., A. Saxena, B. G. Marcot, V. B. Sawarkar, P. S. Roy, P. K. Mathur, and S. P. Singh. 2000. Forest fragmentation in the tropical forest ecosystem of Garo Hills, Meghalaya, northeast India. Pp. 174-196 in: P. S. Roy, S. Singh, and A. G. Toxopeus, eds. Proceedings of a workshop on Biodiversity and Environment: Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System Perspective. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, National Remote Sensing Agency, Dehra Dun, India. 220 + xii pp.

Marcot, B. G.  1993.  Conservation of forests of India: an ecologist's tour.  U.S. Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station Miscellaneous Publication, January 1993.  Portland, Oregon.  127 pp. [53MB PDF]  

Marcot, B. G. 1992. Conservation of Indian forests. Cons. Biol. 6(1):12-16. [1MB PDF]

Marcot, B. G., R. Vora, and J. Lehmkuhl.  1991. Threatened forests of Indian: our future dilemma?  Natural Areas Report 3(2):2-4. [0.5MB PDF]



Final report on Management of Forests in India for Biological Diversity and Forest Productivity: A New Perspective.  2002.  Wildlife Institute of India and USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project.  6 volumes.  

            Selected chapters in the above volumes (volumes available as PDF files upon request):

Kumar, A., A. K. Gupta, B. G. Marcot, A. Saxena, S. P. Singh, and T. T. C. Marak. 2002. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective. Volume IV: Garo Hills Conservation Area (GCA). Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service collaborative project report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun. 206 pp. 

Lehmkuhl, J. F., S. K. Srivastava, B. G. Marcot, and V. B. Sawarkar. 2002. Chapter 5: Next steps. Pp. 57-70 in: P. K. Mathur, J. F. Lehmkuhl, and V. B. Sawarkar, eds. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective - Volume I: Concepts, approaches, and project overview, Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 70 pp. 

Marcot, B. G., J. F. Lehmkuhl, and M. G. Raphael. 2002. Chapter 4: Summary and synthesis of lessons learned in four conservation areas. Pp. 47-56 in: P. K. Mathur, J. F. Lehmkuhl, and V. B. Sawarkar, eds. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective - Volume I: Concepts, approaches, and project overview, Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 70 pp. 

Marcot, B. G., and M. G. Raphael. 2002. Chapter 1: Wildlife-habitat relationships (WHR) in conservation areas. Pp. 1-8 in: P. K. Mathur, J. F. Lehmkuhl, and V. B. Sawarkar, eds. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective - Volume II: Wildlife-habitat relationships (WHR) in conservation areas, Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 224 pp. 

Marcot, B. G., M. G. Raphael, R. S. Holthausen, and V. B. Sawarkar. 2002. Chapter 2: Concepts and applications of landscape planning and management. Pp. 5-32 in: P. K. Mathur, J. F. Lehmkuhl, and V. B. Sawarkar, eds. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective - Volume I: Concepts, approaches, and project overview, Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 70 pp. 

Sawarkar, V. B., and B. G. Marcot. 2002. Chapter 2: Methods for wildlife-habitat relationships (WHR). Pp. 9-14 in: P. K. Mathur, J. F. Lehmkuhl, and V. B. Sawarkar, eds. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective - Volume II: Wildlife-habitat relationships (WHR) in conservation areas, Wildlife Institute of India-USDA Forest Service Collaborative Project Report. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India. 224 pp. 


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