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The effect of canopy closure on chimpanzee nest abundance in Lagoas de Cufada National Park, Guinea-Bissau

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The present study aimed to gather baseline information about chimpanzee nesting and density in Lagoas de Cufada Natural Park (LCNP), in Guinea-Bissau. Old and narrow trails were followed to estimate chimpanzee density through marked-nest counts and to test the effect of canopy closure (woodland savannah, forest with a sparse canopy, and forest with a dense canopy) on nest distribution. Chimpanzee abundance was estimated at 0.79 nest builders/km2, the lowest among the areas of Guinea-Bissau with currently studied chimpanzee populations. Our data suggest that sub-humid forest with a dense canopy accounts for significantly higher chimpanzee nest abundance (1.50 nests/km of trail) than sub-humid forest with a sparse canopy (0.49 nests/km of trail) or woodland savannah (0.30 nests/km of trail). Dense-canopy forests play an important role in chimpanzee nesting in the patchy and highly humanized landscape of LCNP. The tree species most frequently used for nesting are Dialium guineense (46 %) and Elaeis guineensis (28 %). E. guineensis contain nests built higher in the canopy, while D. guineense contain nests built at lower heights. Nests observed during baseline sampling and replications suggest seasonal variations in the tree species used for nest building.

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This study was developed within the project “Chimpanzee distribution and relation with local human communities in coastal area of Guinea-Bissau” PPCDT/ANT/57434/2004, funded by the Foundation for Science and Technology, Portugal, and was conducted within the framework of the Dari Project. The authors would like to thank IBAP (Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas of Guinea-Bissau) for the logistical and administrative support, to Honório Fernandes Pereira, the Director of the LCNP, and to INEP (National Institute of Studies and Research). We are also grateful to Jeremy Huet and Joana Silva for their support with GIS information. Thanks are also due to Musa Mané, Umaru Candê, Bacari Sanha, Agostinho N’fanda, Bafode Mané, Abu Dabo, and Benjamim Indec for helping the first and third authors during data collection. Many thanks to Joost van Schijndel for carefully commenting on this paper and for his patience as a reviewer, to Joana Carvalho for her insights on this draft, and to Diana Alcantara for performing a final revision of the first version. Thanks are due too to Cristina Santos and Ricardo Ramos for insights concerning some of the statistical analysis. Great thanks go to Justo Nadum for his great capacity to mobilize and organize people and work, and to Idrissa Camara for his support. Further thanks are due to Duana Namfé, Maria and Alfredo Nawgualé, comrades in everyday life, to Marina Correia for her care, and to Cristina Silva for her organizational efforts and conversations. Finally, we acknowledge Yan Overfield Shaw for proofreading the final version of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Cláudia Sousa.

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Sousa, J., Casanova, C., Barata, A.V. et al. The effect of canopy closure on chimpanzee nest abundance in Lagoas de Cufada National Park, Guinea-Bissau. Primates 55, 283–292 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-013-0402-2

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  • Chimpanzee
  • Marked-nest counts
  • Estimating density
  • Canopy closure
  • Lagoas de Cufada Natural Park