Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 8, pp 1907–1922 | Cite as

Can agroforest woodlots work as stepping stones for birds in the Atlantic forest region?

  • Alexandre Uezu
  • Dennis Driesmans Beyer
  • Jean Paul Metzger
Original Paper

Abstract

In fragmented landscapes, agroforest woodlots can potentially act as stepping stones facilitating movement between forest fragments. We assessed the influence of agroforest woodlots on bird distribution and diversity in the Atlantic forest region (SE Brazil), and also tested which categories of species can use different types of connection elements, and whether this use is influenced by the distance to large forest patches. We studied two fragmented landscapes, with and without stepping stones linking large fragments, and one forested landscape. Using a point count, a bird survey was undertaken in the fragmented landscapes in five different elements: large remnants (>400 ha), agroforest woodlots (0.4–1.1 ha), small patches (0.5–7 ha), riparian corridor, and pasture areas (the main matrix). Generalist and open-area species were commonly observed in the agroforest system or other connection elements, whereas only a few forest species were present in these connections. For the latter species, the distance of woodlots to large patches was essential to determine their richness and abundance. Based on our results and data from literature, we suggest that there is an optimal relationship between the permeability of the matrix and the efficiency of stepping stones, which occurs at intermediate degrees of matrix resistance, and is species-dependent. Because the presence of agroforest system favors a higher richness of generalist species, they appeared to be more advantageous for conservation than the monoculture system; for this reason, they should be considered as a management alternative, particularly when the matrix permeability requirement is met.

Keywords

Agroforest system Biodiversity Connectivity Conservation Fragmentation Landscape ecology Landscape management 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandre Uezu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Dennis Driesmans Beyer
    • 1
  • Jean Paul Metzger
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de Ecologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto de Pesquisas EcológicasNazare PaulistaBrazil

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