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Influence of the landscape matrix on the abundance of arboreal primates in fragmented landscapes

Influence of the landscape matrix on the abundance of arboreal primates in fragmented landscapes,10.1007/s10329-010-0231-5,Primates,Gilberto Pozo-Mont

Influence of the landscape matrix on the abundance of arboreal primates in fragmented landscapes  
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Composition of the landscape matrix of surrounding forest fragments is thought to be critically important to the survival of arboreal primates because it offers structures that help the animals move between fragments and other foraging sites. However, little is known about the composition of the matrix used by these animals. The aim of this study was to quantitatively assess the importance of the landscape matrix and its effects on primate abundance, using black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) living in a landscape fragmented by the expansion of agriculture and pastures for livestock in southeastern Mexico. In 2008, a complete census of the monkeys was carried out across the 2000-ha landscape matrix, and for every site where we observed monkeys, we recorded canopy height, tree basal area, food-source abundance, and distance to the nearest fragment. A total of 244 howler monkeys, distributed among 48 groups (including six solitary males) were counted in the matrix. Mean troop size was 5.6 ± 2.8 individuals, and the mode was three individuals. The highest number of troops and greatest howler monkey abundance were recorded in the isolated trees, the eucalyptus plantation, and orchards. A generalized linear model revealed that monkey abundance tended to be higher in matrix elements with higher canopy height, greater food availability, and closest to rainforest fragments. These results suggest that it is necessary to take into account the many elements of the landscape when drawing up conservation and habitat management plans, particularly in order to establish connectivity among the fragments and elements of the matrix with native trees.
Journal: Primates , vol. 52, no. 2, pp. 139-147, 2011
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