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Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 8, pp 2421–2439 | Cite as

Long-term persistence of midsized to large-bodied mammals in Amazonian landscapes under varying contexts of forest cover

  • Ricardo SampaioEmail author
  • Albertina P. Lima
  • William E. Magnusson
  • Carlos A. Peres
Original Paper

Abstract

Both forest fragmentation and overhunting have profound effects on the structure of large-vertebrate assemblages in neotropical forests. However, the long-term value of habitat fragments for forest mammals remains poorly understood and few regional scale studies have replicated sampling across spatially independent landscapes. Here, we assess the species occupancy and abundance of midsized to large-bodied mammals within three neighbouring Amazonian forest landscapes varying widely in extent of forest cover. One of these consisted of forest fragments surrounded by semi-natural scrub savannahs that had been occupied by paleoindian populations for at least 7,000 years, whereas forest cover in the other two landscapes was either variegated or continuous. Data on species occurrence and abundance from diurnal and nocturnal line-transect surveys and local interviews in each landscape were used to examine the effects of forest cover and hunting pressure on mammal persistence within forest patches. The extent of forest cover was a key determinant of species persistence across the three landscapes, but populations of large-bodied species were either reduced or driven to local extinction by hunting even in the most forested and least fragmented landscape. Many game and non-game species persisted in forest isolates, even though, individually, these were likely too small to support viable populations. This study indicates that even small, long-term forest fragments may retain significant conservation value if they can be managed within the context of enhanced connectivity across wider fragmented landscapes.

Keywords

Amazonian wildlife Forest fragmentation Hunting Local extinction Mammals Forest disturbance 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the field assistance of Ediwaldo Vasconcelos, Donildo, Juvenal and Herrison, and to the family of Juci and Laudeco Sardinha and the villagers of Alter-do-Chão who made our field work much more pleasant. We thank Gonçalo Ferraz and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript, Vitor Landeiro for assistance with the statistical analyses, and Juliana Schietti and Ralph Trancoso for their GIS assistance. The study was funded by grants from the Brazilian Research Council (CNPq) to APL and WEM, and a scholarship from the IEB/Moore Foundation Beca Program (B/2006/01/BMP/11) and CNPq to RS.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ricardo Sampaio
    • 1
    Email author
  • Albertina P. Lima
    • 1
  • William E. Magnusson
    • 1
  • Carlos A. Peres
    • 2
  1. 1.Coordenação de Pesquisas em EcologiaInstituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazôniaManausBrazil
  2. 2.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

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