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Private forest reserves can aid in preserving the community of medium and large-sized vertebrates in the Amazon arc of deforestation

Abstract

Due to the advancing agricultural frontier in the Brazilian Amazon, the present rate of deforestation engenders a pessimistic scenario for vertebrate diversity in the area. Protected areas are an essential conservation tool to limit biodiversity loss, but their efficiency have yet to be proven. Here, we used camera-trap data on the presence of medium and large-size vertebrates in a protected area (Cantão State Park) and a neighbouring private forest reserve (Santa Fé Ranch) to evaluate their effectiveness in protecting biodiversity. We also gathered information on seasonality and activity patterns. A total sampling effort of 7929 trap-nights revealed a diverse vertebrate fauna in the region. A total of 34 mammal species, belonging to 8 different orders was detected in the study area, some of which have a high level of conservation interest and value. The photographic index showed that diversity was more abundant outside the protected area of Cantão State Park, where seasonality could play a major role in vertebrate occurrence. Overall, the influence of seasonality on distribution appears to be species-specific. During the wet season around 40% of the common species were not detected inside the park, whereas in Santa Fé Ranch most species (62.5%) suffered only a slight decrease in relative abundance probably due to changes in the availability of food resources. Our results highlight the importance of private land for vertebrate conservation in the Amazon and alert to the need for increased law enforcement in these areas to secure biodiversity preservation.

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Acknowledgments

This study was funded by the Jaguar Conservation Fund, Ideawild and Ecotropical Institute. Nuno Negrões was supported by a grant from Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT-MCT) (SRFH/BD/23894/2005). We are indebted to Naturatins, the Cantão State Park personnel and Fazenda Santa Fé staff; especially to Marcos Mariani, who allowed this study on his property as well as for his logistic support.

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Correspondence to Nuno Negrões.

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Negrões, N., Revilla, E., Fonseca, C. et al. Private forest reserves can aid in preserving the community of medium and large-sized vertebrates in the Amazon arc of deforestation. Biodivers Conserv 20, 505–518 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-010-9961-3

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Keywords

  • Camera-trapping
  • Tropical mammals and birds
  • Amazon
  • Activity period