Event Title

Gauging the Effects of Sustainable Permaculture: a Biological Index of Sadhana Forest in Auroville, India

Faculty Sponsor(s)

Len Reitsma

Abstract

Documenting biodiversity in ecologically restored areas is critical to counter current mass extinction. Our study site was a 28.3 ha permaculture farm within a tropical dry evergreen forest consisting of a matrix of native and nonnative vegetation. We performed a non-destructive biological inventory using 28 GPSed locations to quantify the positive impact of sustainable permaculture. We used point counts (fixed surveys) for birds, and leaf counts, sweep netting, and flying insect counts for invertebrates. We also recorded a cumulative count of all species throughout the study. We found that animals were detected significantly more in areas of the farm with higher percentages of native trees, for both invertebrates and birds. Leaf counts also had significantly greater abundance of invertebrates in areas with more native species. Our data also had a trend of higher average detections in native areas. Our research corroborates other studies, and will provide data that support forest restoration of native habitats through permaculture.

Location

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

Start Date

5-2-2019 2:00 PM

End Date

5-2-2019 3:00 PM

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May 2nd, 2:00 PM May 2nd, 3:00 PM

Gauging the Effects of Sustainable Permaculture: a Biological Index of Sadhana Forest in Auroville, India

Hartman Union Building Courtroom

Documenting biodiversity in ecologically restored areas is critical to counter current mass extinction. Our study site was a 28.3 ha permaculture farm within a tropical dry evergreen forest consisting of a matrix of native and nonnative vegetation. We performed a non-destructive biological inventory using 28 GPSed locations to quantify the positive impact of sustainable permaculture. We used point counts (fixed surveys) for birds, and leaf counts, sweep netting, and flying insect counts for invertebrates. We also recorded a cumulative count of all species throughout the study. We found that animals were detected significantly more in areas of the farm with higher percentages of native trees, for both invertebrates and birds. Leaf counts also had significantly greater abundance of invertebrates in areas with more native species. Our data also had a trend of higher average detections in native areas. Our research corroborates other studies, and will provide data that support forest restoration of native habitats through permaculture.