Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 19–43 | Cite as

Anthropogenic landscape changes and avian diversity at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico

  • Alejandro Estrada
  • Rosamond Coates-Estrada
  • Dennis A. MerittJr


Faced with rapid and extensive conversion of tropical rain forests to a landscape consisting of pasture lands, and with the need to preserve the avian diversity of tropical regions, it is imperative to determine how different species have responded to anthropogenic alterations of their natural habitats. We sampled birds in undisturbed and disturbed forest islands in regenerating forests and in four replicates of each of the following man-made habitats: arboreal agricultural habitats (cacao, coffee, mixed, citrus and allspice), non-arboreal agricultural habitats (corn, jalapen~o chili pepper and bananas), live fences and pastures, at Los Tuxtlas, Veracruz, Mexico. We censused 22145 birds representing 226 species. We detected 79% of the species in forest habitats, 80% in agricultural habitats, 43% in live fences and only 5% in pastures. Isolating distance and continued disturbance by humans of forest fragments were important variables influencing species' richness. Arboreal agricultural habitats and live fences were richer in species and in birds than non-arboreal man-made habitats. Economic surveys showed that some of the crops investigated yield higher returns than cattle ranching based on pastures. We discuss the conservation value for birds of agricultural islands and of live fences as landscape elements that help reduce physical and biotic isolation among remaining configurations of forest fragments in Los Tuxtlas.

tropical rain forest Mexico Los Tuxtlas bird diversity conservation. 


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alejandro Estrada
    • 1
  • Rosamond Coates-Estrada
    • 1
  • Dennis A. MerittJr
    • 2
  1. 1.Estacio´n de Biologi´a ‘Los Tuxtlas’Instituto de Biologi´a – UNAMSan Andre´s Tuxtla, VeracruzMe´xico
  2. 2.Lincoln Park ZooChicagoUSA

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