The World Pheasant Association (WPA) Expedition to Pipar, Nepal

The World Pheasant Association (WPA) has been monitoring populations of three pheasant species in the Annapurna region of Nepal for over thirty years. They asked Simon Poulton to join the 2011 expedition to Pipar to appraise the sampling strategy and field methods and to make recommendations for the continuation of this extremely valuable project. This role had two main outputs:

a) Firstly, to assist with the collection of field data to gain practical experience of the field methods and working conditions. Following this, he built a small stand-alone, relational database to hold the call count data and then analysed the 2011 records. This showed that two of the species had declined in 2011 compared to previous years, although the pattern was more complex than previous analyses had suggested. These findings were included in the expedition report (Poudyal et al, 2011).
b) The second output of this project was a technical report (Poulton; 2011) which included a much more thorough analysis of the historical data. It also investigated the factors which influenced accurate recording of call counts in the field. A robust power analysis utilising 20 million simulated samples indicated that it would be difficult to detect change in the short term, but the field methods and sample sizes would probably be adequate to detect long-term changes.