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Richness, diversity, and factors influencing occupancy of mammal communities across human-modified landscapes in Colombia

Boron, Valeria, Deere, Nicolas, Xofis, Panteleimon, Link, Andres, Quiñones-Guerrero, Andres, Payan, Esteban, Tzanopoulos, Joseph (2019) Richness, diversity, and factors influencing occupancy of mammal communities across human-modified landscapes in Colombia. Biological Conservation, 232 . pp. 108-116. ISSN 0006-3207. (doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.030) (KAR id:72780)


As human-modified landscapes are increasing in the tropics, it becomes critical to understand how they affect mammal communities to reconcile conservation and development. We combined land cover information and camera-trapping data to explore the effects of agricultural expansion on mammals in the Magdalena river valley of Colombia. We estimated species diversity, evenness, and dominance across two agricultural landscapes, modified by cattle ranching and oil palm cultivation. We further assessed which variables influence species- and community-level occupancy using multi-species occupancy models. Results highlight that modified landscapes display lower species richness, diversity and evenness, and higher dominance than more pristine sites. Residual forest cover and distance to water had significant effect on community occupancy (positive and negative respectively). Forests were particularly important for pumas, ocelots, lowland pacas, Central American agoutis, and crab-eating raccoons while wetlands had a positive effect on jaguars, the apex predator in the region. The influence of anthropogenic pressure was not clearly evident, though pastures were not valuable habitats for any mammal species, as they had a negative, yet not significant, effect on species and community occupancy. In light of rapidly expanding agriculture across the tropics, our findings highlight species-specific responses to disturbance that can inform land use planning and conservation policies. We stress the conservation value of forest and wetland habitat to mammal occupancy in heterogeneous ecosystems. Moreover, our results demonstrate that oil palm and crop expansion should target existing pastures, which displayed limited conservation value for Neotropical mammals but occupy vast swathes of land across Latin America.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.01.030
Uncontrolled keywords: Panthera, oncaCamera, trapBayesian, statisticsLand-use change Oil palmPasture
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Joseph Tzanopoulos
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2019 13:58 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 16:45 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Boron, Valeria.

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Deere, Nicolas.

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Tzanopoulos, Joseph.

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