Maíra Benchimol

Maíra Benchimol
Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz · Departamento de Ciências Biológicas (DCB)

PhD in Environmental Sciences (Ecology and Conservation)

About

71
Publications
35,750
Reads
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1,138
Citations
Citations since 2016
62 Research Items
1093 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250300
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Introduction
I am interested in tropical ecology and conservation studies, particularly focusing on the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on vertebrates, landscape-scale ecology, mammal ecology and conservation, floristic diversity and community-based monitoring programs.
Additional affiliations
January 2016 - February 2021
Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
October 2010 - September 2014
University of East Anglia
Position
  • PhD Student
March 2007 - February 2009
Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia
Position
  • Master's Student

Publications

Publications (71)
Article
Full-text available
Forest loss is one of the most serious threats to biodiversity in the tropics and mainly occurs due to the conversion of native forests by the expansion of human activities. In addition, regional climate change is likely to adversely affect the remaining biota. These disturbances may have direct or indirect consequences on the demographic structure...
Article
The flammable ecosystems are evolutionary dependent on the periodic action of fire. Several environmental factors, both at local and landscape scales, can affect fire regimes in these ecosystems differently. Here, we evaluated the influence of local and landscape features on two parameters of the fire regime of a flammable protected area of the Bra...
Article
Insular environments are among the most endangered ecosystems as they face a myriad of anthropogenic stressors. Forest mammals perform a wide range of ecological services, with their persistence being vital for ecosystem functionality in both natural and artificial islands. Studies revealed that shrinkage in island size usually leads to the decay o...
Article
Full-text available
Deforestation and fragmentation are pervasive drivers of biodiversity loss, but how they scale up to entire landscapes remains poorly understood. Here, we apply species-habitat networks based on species co-occurrences to test the effects of insular fragmentation on multiple taxa-medium-large mammals, small nonvolant mammals, lizards, understory bir...
Article
Full-text available
Mega dams in lowland tropical forests often create large archipelagos, leading to biodiversity decay and disruption of ecosystem functioning in remnant habitat islands. We investigated the functional diversity and functional trait filtering of aerial insectivorous bats in both insular forest patches created by a vast ~30‐yr‐old hydropower reservoir...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forests have been rapidly deforested and degradation worldwide has outpaced biodiversity field sampling. No study to date has assessed the effects of insular habitats induced by hydroelectric dams on Amazonian understory plants. Fern community responses to anthropogenic effects on tropical forest islands can be revealed at a faster pace by...
Article
Full-text available
The Atlantic Forest remnants in southern Bahia, Brazil, contain large tree species that have suffered disturbances in recent decades. Anthropogenic activities have led to a decrease in the population of many tree species and a loss of alleles that can maintain the evolutionary fitness of their populations. This study assessed patterns of genetic di...
Article
Full-text available
The expansion of human activities has led to drastic changes in the original landscapes in which tropical forests stand, causing the loss and fragmentation of natural habitats. Both processes induce changes in forest structure and local microclimatic conditions that are important modulators of the survival and demographic structure of plant species...
Article
• Habitat loss and the conversion of natural environments to anthropogenic land uses are among the main drivers of biodiversity decline worldwide. The remaining habitats are inserted in highly modified landscapes, presenting contrasting patch and landscape features. Understanding species’ responses to these anthropogenic land-use changes is essenti...
Article
Full-text available
Forest cover and light availability comprise key factors for plant establishment in tropical forests. In the Brazilian Atlantic Forest (AF), Euterpe edulis (Areacaceae) is an endangered and keystone food resource contributing to forest functionality. We investigated the influence of forest loss and light availability on leaf traits and acclimatizat...
Article
Question Losses in species richness and functional diversity of tree assemblages have often been observed in Neotropical fragmented landscapes, but the way in which tree phylogenetic diversity responds to forest insularization over decadal timescales remains unclear. Here, we examine how tree phylogenetic diversity and structure have responded to p...
Article
Fire is a powerful environmental disturbance with the ability to shape many biomes worldwide. However, global warming, land-use changes and other anthropogenic factors have strongly altered natural fire regimes worldwide. Despite the growing number of studies evaluating the effects of fire on biodiversity, little is understood about how burn affect...
Article
Aim Here we examine the functional profile of regional tree species pools across the latitudinal distribution of Neotropical moist forests, and test trait–climate relationships among local communities. We expected opportunistic strategies (acquisitive traits, small seeds) to be overrepresented in species pools further from the equator, but also in...
Article
The Brazilian Atlantic Forest of Southern Bahia is a megadiverse region given its remarkable number of species and endemism. Despite being a priority region for biodiversity conservation, the role of protected and unprotected forest remnants for long-term species conservation is unknown. Here, we unveil the main patterns of occurrence and distribut...
Article
Full-text available
• Escalating human development has severely threatened natural ecosystems, especially in the Tropics, resulting in the wholesale replacement and fragmentation of native habitats and their biotas. As a result, wild vertebrates have often become isolated in natural vegetation patches surrounded by different anthropogenic land cover (ALC) types of var...
Article
Full-text available
Banks-Leite et al. (2021) claim that our suggestion of preserving ≥40% forest cover lacks evidence and can be problematic. We find these claims unfounded, and discuss why conservation planning urgently requires valuable, well-supported, and feasible general guidelines like the 40% criterion. Using region-specific thresholds worldwide is unfeasible...
Article
Full-text available
ContextHabitat loss is widely recognized as the main driver of biodiversity loss around the globe, yet the effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity have been extensively debated in recent years.Objectives We used a robust dataset of medium and large-sized mammals to test (a) the Habitat Amount Hypothesis, which postulates that species richn...
Article
Full-text available
Under habitat loss and fragmentation, the intensity of local ecological processes involving species interactions changes pervasively, accelerating local species extinctions, and disrupting essential ecosystem functions. We addressed this issue by examining the direct population drivers of apex predators (five felid species), armadillo mesopredators...
Article
Floodplain areas comprise some 30% of the area in the Amazon, but are currently under severe anthropogenic threat. Across the Amazon Basin, forest‐dwelling non‐volant mammals play crucial roles in maintaining the integrity of forest functionality, yet have been poorly studied in fluvial island forests. Mammal assemblages may be affected by edaphic...
Chapter
The species–area relationship (SAR) describes a range of related phenomena that are fundamental to the study of biogeography, macroecology and community ecology. While the subject of ongoing debate for a century, surprisingly, no previous book has focused specifically on the SAR. This volume addresses this shortfall by providing a synthesis of the...
Article
Tropical forests have been intensively degraded and deforested for different anthropogenic uses, mostly associated to agricultural expansion due to increasing human demands. Therefore, an emerging number of studies has advocated on the benefits of land-sharing strategies such as agroforestry systems which conciliate biodiversity conservation with p...
Article
Full-text available
Context. Biodiversity in tropical region has declined in the last decades, mainly due to forest conversion into agricultural areas. Consequently, species occupancy in these landscapes is strongly governed by environmental changes acting at multiple spatial scales. Objectives. We investigated which environmental predictors best determines the occ...
Article
• Mega hydroelectric dams have become one of the main drivers of habitat loss in tropical forests, converting large tracts of pristine forests into isolated forest islands. Understanding how biodiversity cope with landscape modification in these archipelagic landscapes is of paramount importance to assess the environmental consequences of dam infra...
Article
Full-text available
A chuva de sementes representa o conjunto das sementes que chegam ao solo via árvores vizinhas e/ou dispersão através de vetores bióticos e abióticos, compreendendo etapa essencial para a regeneração florestal. Este estudo avaliou como a quantidade de cobertura florestal na paisagem (CF) afeta a proporção de espécies de sementes encontradas em dife...
Article
Full-text available
Agriculture and development transform forest ecosystems to human-modified landscapes. Decades of research in ecology have generated myriad concepts for the appropriate management of these landscapes. Yet, these concepts are often contradictory and apply at different spatial scales, making the design of biodiversity-friendly landscapes challenging....
Article
Mega‐dams 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 ∼3500 variable‐sized islands that still harbor vertebrate populations after nearly three decades of post‐isolation history. Here, we estima...
Article
Full-text available
We present evidence of plasticity in habitat use and range extension of the striped hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus semistriatus) in Brazil. We first compiled literature records of C. semistriatus across its known distribution (N = 390), added new records from primary data (N = 10), and compared the main landscape composition (forest, savannah, grasslan...
Article
Anthropogenic disturbances represent the main threat to biodiversity around the globe, yet effects are not restricted to species loss. Assessing the functional diversity, which measures the range and value of ecological traits of organisms, can provide a more direct link between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Therefore, as species’ respons...
Article
Full-text available
Large ground-dwelling Neotropical gamebirds are highly threatened by habitat loss and hunting, but conservationists rarely attempt to distinguish between these two threats in the management of populations. We used three different types of species records to determine the status (i.e. persistence level) of the Endangered red-billed curassow Crax blu...
Article
Full-text available
en Tropical forests have been facing high rates of deforestation driven by multiple anthropogenic disturbances, with severe consequences for biodiversity. However, the understanding of such effects on functional diversity is still limited in tropical regions, especially considering different ecological groups responses. Here, we evaluated the funct...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
Is it possible to reconcile production with biodiversity conservation? The south of Bahia, where cocoa is planted under the shade of native forest - called cabrucas - is helping us to answer this question. Get to know a little about this region and our research in this video, and fall in love with the landscape, culture and science that we are unve...
Article
Full-text available
Xenarthrans—anteaters, sloths, and armadillos—have essential functions for ecosystem maintenance, such as insect control and nutrient cycling, playing key roles as ecosystem engineers. Because of habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting pressure, and conflicts with domestic dogs, these species have been threatened locally, regionally, or even across...
Article
The Neotropical region hosts one of the highest levels of small non-volant mammal species diversity worldwide, but sampling therein is often intractable due to high logistic and labour costs. While most common sampling methods include live trapping (LT) and pitfall trapping (PT), camera trapping (CT) is potentially a useful technique. Studies asses...
Preprint
Full-text available
1. Mega hydroelectric dams have become one of the main drivers of habitat loss in tropical forests, converting large tracts of pristine forests into isolated forest islands. Understanding how biodiversity cope with landscape modification in these archipelagic landscapes is of paramount importance to assess the environmental consequences of dam infr...
Article
Full-text available
Mega‐dams create highly fragmented archipelagos, affecting biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in remnant forest isolates. This study assessed the long‐term impact of dam‐induced fragmentation on insular tropical tree communities, with the aim of generating robust recommendations to mitigate some of the detrimental biodiversity impacts associate...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
Com apenas 12 % de cobertura florestal original, a Mata Atlântica é um dos biomas com maior biodiversidade do mundo, mesmo que muito fragmentada devido ao desmatamento para estabelecimento de cidades, pastagens e plantios diversos (monoculturas, silviculturas e agroflorestas). No entanto, nosso conhecimento ainda é limitado no entendimento de como...
Article
Full-text available
Hydroelectric dams have induced widespread loss, fragmentation and degradation of terrestrial habitats in lowland tropical forests. Yet their ecological impacts have been widely neglected, particularly in developing countries, which are currently earmarked for exponential hydropower development. Here we assess small mammal assemblage responses to A...
Article
Full-text available
Aim Mega hydroelectric dams have become one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss in the lowland tropics. In these reservoirs, vertebrate studies have focused on local (α) diversity measures, whereas between‐site (β) diversity remains poorly assessed despite its pivotal importance in understanding how species diversity is structured and maintain...
Article
Full-text available
Medidas de conservação que consigam alinhar o uso direto da floresta, a preservação de espécies e o desenvolvimento local são fundamentais. O monitoramento participativo da biodiversidade se destaca como ferramenta de aproximação e gestão dessas questões. Neste artigo, descrevemos o processo de construção do monitoramento de caça de subsistência na...
Article
Full-text available
Tropical forest fragmentation creates insular biological communities that undergo species loss and changes in community composition over time, due to area- and edge-effects. Woody lianas thrive in degraded and secondary forests, due to their competitive advantage over trees in these habitats. Lianas compete both directly and indirectly with trees,...
Data
Overview of liana seed dispersal modes. Liana sapling genera with total abundances and seed dispersal mode classification. (DOCX)
Data
Summary of ANOVA results. ANOVA testing overall differences between island and mainland plots. (DOCX)
Data
Overview of perMANOVA analysis. perMANOVA tests of abundance- and incidence-based community compositions, which were carried out between island and mainland plots, and among island plots with environmental variables. perMANOVA for abundance-based compositional data was carried out using dissimilarities derived from the Morisita-Horn dissimilarity i...
Data
Overview of lianas and trees inventoried. Number of sapling and mature lianas, number of liana genera, and number of tree saplings and adults within all 89 plots inventoried across 36 islands and three mainland continuous forest sites across the Balbina Hydroelectric Dam landscape (Brazilian Amazon). NS = not surveyed. (DOCX)
Article
Full-text available
A large number of sustainable use reserves recently have been titled in the Brazilian Amazonia. These reserves require public participation in the design and implementation of management and monitoring programs. Species-monitoring programs that engage local stakeholders may be useful for assessing wildlife status over the long term. We collaborated...
Article
Functional traits associated with plant-animal interactions are essential for forest functionality, given that a higher diversity of fruit traits is likely to maintain a more diverse assemblage of frugivores and consequently promote the seed dispersal function. Yet, shade-intolerant species tend to persist in human-modified landscapes in the long t...
Article
As tropical rainforests are cleared, forest remnants are increasingly isolated within agricultural landscapes. Understanding how forest loss impacts on species diversity can, therefore, contribute to identifying the minimum amount of habitat required for biodiversity maintenance in human-modified landscapes. Here, we evaluate how the amount of fore...
Data
Spatial correlation of species richness and abundance patterns. (PDF)
Data
Frequency of tree species and their respective classification on regeneration strategy, dispersion mode, and seed size, within 20 remnants with different forest cover amount in northeastern Brazil. (PDF)
Data
Ranking selection of best models explaining species richness and abundance of trees in function of forest cover amount at landscape-scale, for overall community and for the most important families. (PDF)
Data
Ranking selection of best models explaining species richness and abundance of trees in function of forest cover amount at landscape-scale, for each functional trait. (PDF)
Data
Ranking selection of best models explaining the richness and abundance of each functional trait in function of forest cover amount and distance of nearest edge. (PDF)
Data
Ranking selection of best models explaining the richness and abundance of overall community and the most important families recorded for this study in function of forest cover amount and distance of nearest edge. (PDF)
Article
Full-text available
Environmental change may alter the communication systems of birds by imposing shifts in their acoustic signals. In tropical forests, vocally active species usually avoid overlapping signals in acoustic space by calling within narrow frequency ranges, whereas in forest islands a less saturated acoustic space may allow variation in acoustic signals....
Article
Mega hydropower projects in tropical forests pose a major emergent threat to terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity worldwide. Despite the unprecedented number of existing, under-construction and planned hydroelectric dams in lowland tropical forests, long-term effects on biodiversity have yet to be evaluated. We examine how medium and large-bodie...
Article
1.Islands formed upstream of mega hydroelectric dams are excellent experimental landscapes to assess the impacts of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. We examined the effects of plot-, patch- and landscape-scale variables on the patterns of floristic diversity across 34 forest islands that had experienced 26 years of isolation since the creatio...
Article
Large hydroelectric dams are one of the current drivers of habitat loss across Amazonian forests. We investigated how the primate community at a hydroelectric dam in Brazilian Amazonia responded to changes in the landscape and local habitat structure of land‐bridge islands after 21 yr of post‐isolation history. The Balbina Dam, constructed in 1986,...
Article
Understanding the main drivers of species extinction in human-modified landscapes has gained paramount importance in proposing sound conservation strategies. Primates play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of forest ecosystem functions and represent the best studied order of tropical terrestrial vertebrates, yet primate species diverge wi...
Data
Full-text available
Aim We conducted the first comprehensive quantitative review on the effects of habitat fragmentation on Neotropical primates to examine how both patch disturbance and landscape variables modulate species–area relationships (SARs) and species persistence in fragmented forest landscapes. Location Neotropical forests, from Mexico to Argentina. Methods...