, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 587-611

Coping with Forest Fragmentation: The Primates of Kibale National Park, Uganda

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Abstract

A goal of conservation biology is to determine which types of species are most susceptible to habitat disturbance and which types of disturbed habitats can support particular species. We studied 20 forest fragments outside of Kibale National Park, Uganda, to address this question. At each patch, we determined the presence of primate species, tree species composition, patch size, and distance to nearest patch. We collected demographic, behavioral, and dietary data for Abyssinian black-and-white colobus (Colobus guereza). Black-and-white colobus and red-tailed guenons (Cercopithecus ascanius) were in almost all fragments; Pennant's red colobus (Procolobus pennantii) and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) were in some fragments; and blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) and gray-cheeked mangabeys (Lophocebus albigena) were absent from all fragments. No species characteristics—home range, body size, group size, or degree of frugivory—predicted the ability of species to live in patches. No characteristics of patches—area, distance to the nearest patch, distance to Kibale, or number of food trees present—predicted the presence of a particular species in a patch, but distance to Kibale may have influenced presence of red colobus. Black-and-white colobus group size was significantly smaller in the forest patches than in the continuous forest of Kibale. For a group of black-and-white colobus in one patch, food plant species and home range size were very different from those of a group within Kibale. However, their activity budget and plant parts eaten were quite similar to those of the Kibale group. The lack of strong predictive variables as well as differences between other studies of fragmentation and ours caution against making generalizations about primate responses to fragmentation.