Back in April I posted a series of reports on a student field trip that I was involved with in Nepal, supporting our University of Northampton partner college NAMI in Kathmandu; the first one is here. During that trip, my NAMI colleagues and I made some interesting observations about the role of generalist passerine birds and specialist flower-feeding sunbirds as pollinators of rhododendrons in the Himalayas. This was subsequently followed up with another set of observations in which I didn’t take part, and then written up as a short research note. I’m pleased to say that it has now been published in the new, open-access journal Plants, People, Planet. Here’s a link to the paper which you can download for free:
Ollerton J., Koju N.P., Maharjan S.R. & Bashyal B. (2019) Interactions between birds and flowers of Rhododendron spp., and their implications for mountain communities in Nepal. Plants, People, Planet 00:1–6. https ://doi.org/10.1002/ppp3.10091
The report really asks more questions than it answers. It points out how important these rhododendron forests are for the people of Nepal but that we know virtually nothing about the pollination biology of the dominant trees and therefore the long-term persistence of Rhododendron species in the face of forest exploitation and climate change. Our hope is that it stimulates both further research on the topic and increased awareness of how important it is to protect these habitats.