728 research outputs found

    Effects of reduced-impact logging on medium and large-bodied forest vertebrates in eastern Amazonia

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    Standard line-transect census techniques were deployed to generate a checklist and quantify the abundance of medium and large-bodied vertebrate species in forest areas of eastern Amazonia with and without a history of reduced-impact logging (RIL). Three areas were allocated a total of 1,196.9 km of line-transect census effort. Sampling was conducted from April to June 2012 and from April to August 2013, and detected 29 forest vertebrate species considered in this study belonging to 15 orders, 20 families and 28 genera. Additionally, eight species were recorded outside census walks through direct and indirect observations. Of this total, six species are considered vulnerable according to IUCN (Ateles paniscus, Myrmecophaga tridactyla, Priodontes maximus, Tapirus terrestris, Tayassu peccary, Chelonoidis denticulata). Observed species richness ranged from 21 to 24 species in logged and unlogged areas, and encounter rates along transects were highly variable between treatments. However, the relative abundance of species per transect did not differ between transects in logged and unlogged forests. Of the species  detected during censuses, only three showed different relative abundance between the two treatments (Saguinus midas, Tinamus spp. and Dasyprocta leporina). Our results show that the effect of RIL forest management was a relatively unimportant determinant of population abundance for most medium and large vertebrates over the time period of the survey

    Marked decline in forest-dependent small mammals following habitat loss and fragmentation in an Amazonian deforestation frontier

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    Agricultural frontier expansion into the Amazon over the last four decades has created million hectares of fragmented forests. While many species undergo local extinctions within remaining forest patches, this may be compensated by native species from neighbouring open-habitat areas potentially invading these patches, particularly as forest habitats become increasingly degraded. Here, we examine the effects of habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation on small mammal assemblages in a southern Amazonian deforestation frontier, while accounting for species-specific degree of forest-dependency. We surveyed small mammals at three continuous forest sites and 19 forest patches of different sizes and degrees of isolation. We further sampled matrix habitats adjacent to forest patches, which allowed us to classify each species according to forest-dependency and generate a community-averaged forest-dependency index for each site. Based on 21,568 trap-nights, we recorded 970 small mammals representing 20 species: 12 forest-dependents, 5 matrix-tolerants and 3 open-habitat specialists. Across the gradient of forest patch size, small mammal assemblages failed to show the typical species-area relationship, but this relationship held true when either species abundance or composition was considered. Species composition was further mediated by community-averaged forest-dependency, so that smaller forest patches were occupied by a lower proportion of forest-dependent rodents and marsupials. Both species richness and abundance increased in less isolated fragments surrounded by structurally simplified matrix habitats (e.g. active or abandoned cattle pastures). While shorter distances between forest patches may favour small mammal abundances, forest area and matrix complexity dictated which species could persist within forest fragments according to their degree of forest-dependency. Small mammal local extinctions in small forest patches within Amazonian deforestation frontiers are therefore likely offset by the incursion of open-habitat species. To preclude the dominance of those species, and consequent losses of native species and associated ecosystem functions, management actions should limit or reduce areas dedicated to pasture, additionally maintaining more structurally complex matrix habitats across fragmented landscapes

    Do Community-Managed Forests Work? A Biodiversity Perspective

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    Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can produce only a finite resource supply, whereas human populations exploiting them tend to expand rapidly while adopting high-impact technologies to satisfy rising aspirations. Intentions behind the establishment of CMRs may be admirable, but represent an ideal rarely achieved. People tied to the natural forest subsist on income levels that are among the lowest in the Amazon. Limits of sustainable harvesting are often low and rarely known prior to reserve creation or respected thereafter, and resource exhaustion predictably follows. Unintended consequences typically emerge, such as overhunting of the seed dispersers, pollinators, and other animals that provide services essential to perpetuating the forest. CMRs are a low priority for governments, so mostly operate without enforcement, a laxity that encourages illegal forest conversion. Finally, the pull of markets can alter the “business plan” of a reserve overnight, as inhabitants switch to new activities. The reality is that we live in a hyperdynamic world of accelerating change in which past assumptions must continually be re-evaluated

    Gamebird responses to anthropogenic forest fragmentation and degradation in a southern Amazonian landscape

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    Although large-bodied tropical forest birds are impacted by both habitat loss and fragmentation, their patterns of habitat occupancy will also depend on the degree of forest habitat disturbance, which may interact synergistically or additively with fragmentation effects. Here, we examine the effects of forest patch and landscape metrics, and levels of forest disturbance on the patterns of persistence of six gamebird taxa in the southern Brazilian Amazon. We use both interview data conducted with long-term residents and/or landowners from 129 remnant forest patches and 15 continuous forest sites and line-transect census data from a subset of 21 forest patches and two continuous forests. Forest patch area was the strongest predictor of species persistence, explaining as much as 46% of the overall variation in gamebird species richness. Logistic regression models showed that anthropogenic disturbance—including surface wildfires, selective logging and hunting pressure—had a variety of effects on species persistence. Most large-bodied gamebird species were sensitive to forest fragmentation, occupying primarily large, high-quality forest patches in higher abundances, and were typically absent from patches 10,000 ha), relatively undisturbed forest patches to both maximize persistence and maintain baseline abundances of large neotropical forest birds

    Do Community-Managed Forests Work? A Biodiversity Perspective

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    Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can produce only a finite resource supply, whereas human populations exploiting them tend to expand rapidly while adopting high-impact technologies to satisfy rising aspirations. Intentions behind the establishment of CMRs may be admirable, but represent an ideal rarely achieved. People tied to the natural forest subsist on income levels that are among the lowest in the Amazon. Limits of sustainable harvesting are often low and rarely known prior to reserve creation or respected thereafter, and resource exhaustion predictably follows. Unintended consequences typically emerge, such as overhunting of the seed dispersers, pollinators, and other animals that provide services essential to perpetuating the forest. CMRs are a low priority for governments, so mostly operate without enforcement, a laxity that encourages illegal forest conversion. Finally, the pull of markets can alter the “business plan” of a reserve overnight, as inhabitants switch to new activities. The reality is that we live in a hyperdynamic world of accelerating change in which past assumptions must continually be re-evaluated

    Determinants of population persistence and abundance of terrestrial and arboreal vertebrates stranded in tropical forest land-bridge islands

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    Megadams are among the key modern drivers of habitat and biodiversity loss in emerging economies. The Balbina Hydroelectric Dam of Central Brazilian Amazonia inundated 312,900 ha of primary forests and created approximately 3500 variable-sized islands that still harbor vertebrate populations after nearly 3 decades after isolation. We estimated the species richness, abundance, biomass, composition, and group size of medium- to large-bodied forest vertebrates in response to patch, landscape, and habitat-quality metrics across 37 islands and 3 continuous forest sites throughout the Balbina archipelago. We conducted 1168 km of diurnal censuses and had 12,420 camera-trapping days along 81 transects with 207 camera stations. We determined the number of individuals (or groups) detected per 10 km walked and the number of independent photographs per 10 camera-trapping days, respectively, for each species. We recorded 34 species, and patch area was the most significant predictor of vertebrate population relative abundance and aggregate biomass. The maximum group size of several group-living species was consistently larger on large islands and in continuous patches than on small islands. Most vertebrate populations were extirpated after inundation. Remaining populations are unlikely to survive further ecological disruptions. If all vertebrate species were once widely distributed before inundation, we estimated that approximately 75% of all individual vertebrates were lost from all 3546 islands and 7.4% of the animals in all persisting insular populations are highly likely to be extirpated. Our results demonstrate that population abundance estimates should be factored into predictions of community disassembly on small islands to robustly predict biodiversity outcomes. Given the rapidly escalating hydropower infrastructure projects in developing counties, we suggest that faunal abundance and biomass estimates be considered in environmental impact assessments and large strictly protected reserves be established to minimize detrimental effects of dams on biodiversity. Conserving large tracts of continuous forests represents the most critical conservation measure to ensure that animal populations can persist at natural densities in Amazonian forests

    Sampling design may obscure species–area relationships in landscape-scale field studies

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    We investigated 1) the role of area per se in explaining anuran species richness on reservoir forest islands, after controlling for several confounding factors. We also assessed 2) how sampling design affects the inferential power of island species–area relationships (ISARs) aiming to 3) provide guidelines to yield reliable estimates of area-induced species losses in patchy systems. We surveyed anurans with autonomous recording units at 151 plots located on 74 islands and four continuous forest sites at the Balbina Hydroelectric Reservoir landscape, central Brazilian Amazonia. We applied semi-log ISAR models to assess the effect of sampling design on the fit and slope of species–area curves. To do so, we subsampled our surveyed islands following both a 1) stratified and 2) non-stratified random selection of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 islands covering 1) the full range in island size (0.45–1699 ha) and 2) only islands smaller than 100 ha, respectively. We also compiled 25 datasets from the literature to assess the generality of our findings. Island size explained ca half of the variation in species richness. The fit and slope of species–area curves were affected mainly by the range in island size considered, and to a very small extent by the number of islands surveyed. In our literature review, all datasets covering a range of patch sizes larger than 300 ha yielded a positive ISAR, whereas the number of patches alone did not affect the detection of ISARs. We conclude that 1) area per se plays a major role in explaining anuran species richness on forest islands within an Amazonian anthropogenic archipelago; 2) the inferential power of island species–area relationships is severely degraded by sub-optimal sampling designs; 3) at least 10 habitat patches spanning three orders of magnitude in size should be surveyed to yield reliable species–area estimates in patchy systems

    Marine-friendly antifouling coating based on the use of a fatty acid derivative as a pigment

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    This study was devoted to examining the application of copper dodecanoate as a non-contaminant antifouling pigment due to its low copper content and fatty acid nature. For this purpose, antifouling paints with mono-component epoxy resin and rosin matrixes were formulated, and their antifouling efficiency was evaluated. Before its incorporation into the different formulations, the synthesized pigment was characterized. Immersion tests in a marine environment were carried out for 12 months to evaluate the antifouling efficiency of the developed paints; the results were compared with those from a commercial paint. The antifouling efficiency of the new epoxy formulation was found to be considerably higher than that of the rosin formulation and very similar to that of the commercial paint. Most importantly, the release of copper from the epoxy paint formulated with copper dodecanoate was 73.5% lower than that of the commercial paint, suggesting prolonged activity of the developed paint.Peer ReviewedPostprint (published version

    Forest patch isolation drives local extinctions of Amazonian orchid bees in a 26 years old archipelago

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    Major hydroelectric dams are among key emergent agents of habitat loss and fragmentation in lowland tropical forests. Orchid bees (Apidae, Euglossini) are one of the most important groups of specialized pollinators of flowering plants in Neotropical forests. Here, we investigate how an entire assemblage of orchid bees responded to the effects of forest habitat loss, isolation and forest canopy degradation induced by a hydroelectric reservoir of Central Brazilian Amazonia. Built in 1986, the Balbina Dam resulted in a vast archipelagic landscape containing 3546 primary forest islands of varying sizes and isolation, surrounded by 3129 km2 of freshwater. Using scent traps, we sampled 34 islands, 14 open-water matrix sites, and three mainland continuous forests, yielding 2870 male orchid bees representing 25 species. Local orchid bee species richness was affected by forest patch area but particularly by site isolation. Distance to forest edges, either within forest areas or into the open-water matrix, was the most important predictor of species richness and composition. Variation in matrix dispersal of individual species to increasingly isolated sites was a key determinant of community structure. Given the patterns of patch persistence and matrix movements of orchid bees in increasingly fragmented forest landscapes, we outline how forest bees respond to the landscape alteration induced by major hydroelectric dams. These results should be considered in environmental impact studies prior to the approval of new dams

    Patch-scale biodiversity retention in fragmented landscapes:Reconciling the habitat amount hypothesis with the island biogeography theory

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    Aim: To test whether the species richness of understorey insectivorous birds on forest islands induced by a major hydroelectric dam is best explained by either the island biogeography theory (IBT) or the habitat amount hypothesis (HAH). Given the low dispersal ability of the focal species group and the hostile water matrix, we predict that the species richness will be predominantly driven by an island effect as posited by the IBT, rather than a sample area effect as posited by the HAH. Location: Forest islands within the Balbina Hydroelectric Reservoir, central Brazilian Amazonia. Taxon: Birds. Methods: We mist-netted birds at 33 forest islands (0.63–1,699 ha), totalling 874 individuals of 59 species. The size of the local landscape used to calculate the habitat amount was determined by a multi-scale analysis in which buffers around mist-net lines ranged from 50 to 2,000 m. We applied four tests to examine whether the species richness on forest islands is predominantly driven by either an island effect (island size) or a sample area effect (habitat amount). Results: From the four tests applied, one was consistent with an island effect, two were regarded as inappropriate to test the HAH, and one could not be adequately addressed due to island size being highly correlated with habitat amount in the local landscape (200-m buffer). Main conclusions: Some of the proposed ways of testing the HAH may lead to misleading conclusions. The relative importance of island size in determining the species richness of understorey insectivorous birds on forest islands is higher than that of surrounding habitat amount, thereby providing stronger support for IBT. We propose a conceptual framework, based on the degree of matrix permeability and species dispersal ability, to determine to what extent a patch- or landscape-centric worldview in landscape ecology provides the most appropriate framework to assess the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity
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