Local vs landscape drivers of primate occupancy in a Brazilian fragmented region
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Understanding the drivers of species distributions in human-dominated landscapes is crucial for proposing sound conservation strategies. Primates are the most studied terrestrial vertebrate taxa, yet still, their response to forest loss and fragmentation widely varies among species. In this paper, we assessed the relative influence of local vs landscape features on occupancy of two primate species—the black-fronted titi monkey and the black-pencilled marmoset, in a Brazilian fragmented region. We created detection histories by performing repeated auditory surveys on 25 native vegetation patches. Then, we fitted occupancy models using habitat and GIS-based data as site covariates and weather conditions as detection covariates. We found that forest-like canopy elements are important for the titi monkey, a canopy-dependent species. Occupancy of marmoset, an opportunistic species, was also related to local elements, but in a lesser extent. In addition, we found that ignoring detectability in playback call surveys created a 20 % difference in occupancy estimates for the marmoset. We conclude that drivers of primate occupancy at the studied landscape rely mainly on local key habitat elements, so that on-ground conservation actions should not focus on habitat amount alone. Furthermore, we reiterate that primate researchers should explicitly account for imperfect detection to avoid substantial detectability bias.
KeywordsConservation Wildlife habitat Detection Callicebus nigrifrons Callithrix penicillata
We are sincerely thankful to all landowners who allowed us to work in their rural properties. Special thanks are given to Renan Macedo, Rayssa Faria Pedroso, Tiago Fogaça de Carvalho, and Ismael Aparecido da Silva for their valuable help in fieldwork. We also thank two anonymous referees for their valuable suggestions to the manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Data collection was conducted under approval of the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (IBAMA process number 14083–1) and follows the Principles for the Ethical Treatment of Non-Human Primates of the American Society of Primatologists. Co-authors state their participation and agree with the resubmission in Mammal Research. The first author is financed by the Brazilian Federal Agency for Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES number 00.889.834/0001-08). The authors also declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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