In a new study, researchers have found rubber, coffee areca agroforests in India's Western Ghats support 204 bird species.
The research found that the agroforests support 204 bird species, including 13 endemic ones.
The study, 'Producing Diversity: Agroforests Sustain Avian Richness and Abundance in India's Western Ghats' has been published in the current edition of Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.
Areca, coffee and rubber are widely grown plantation crops in Karnataka's Western Ghats.
It stresses that these agroforests are being more and more recognised for their "supplementary role" in preserving wildlife.
"We establish that coffee agroforests are substantially richer in birds than rubber and areca, but all three agroforests play an important role in providing subsidiary habitats for birds in the Ghats," said co-author of the paper Shashank Dalvi.
"Large-bodied frugivores like pigeons and hornbills are found in much higher densities in coffee. These birds play a very important role of seed-dispersal and maintenance of forest trees in the region," he added.
Conservation scientist Krithi K. Karanth said this is one of most comprehensive assessments of tropical bird diversity outside protected areas and shows a clear positive link of tree density and tree cover in the surrounding areas on bird diversity.
"This effort involved intensive research in 187 plantations covering an area of 30,000 km - taking the team two years to complete," said Karanth.