Primate and Dung Beetle Communities in Secondary Growth Rain Forests: Implications for Conservation of Seed Dispersal Systems

Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware, United States
International Journal of Primatology (Impact Factor: 1.99). 04/2006; 27(3):855-879. DOI: 10.1007/s10764-006-9027-2


Conservation efforts are often aimed at one or a few species. However, habitat sustainability relies on ecological interactions among species, such as seed dispersal. Thus, a community-scale conservation strategy may be more valuable in some settings. We describe communities of primary (primates) and secondary (dung beetles) seed dispersers from 5 sites in the Brazilian Amazon. We estimate community biomass of these taxa and, using multivariate ordination, examine the potential for natural reforestation at each site, given the communities of seed dispersers present. Since disturbed habitat is increasingly common and increasingly the focus of conservation efforts, we also examine differences among seed disperser communities between primary forest and secondary growth at each site. Analyses of faunal biomass in different localities and habitats indicate that secondary growth receives nearly as much use by primates as primary forest; given the dominant groups of dung beetles in secondary growth, disturbed habitat should show a pattern of seed burial that is clumped and deep. Areas with high biomass of Alouatta spp. and the large nocturnal dung beetle species may have the greatest potential for natural reforestation of secondary growth particularly for large seeded species. The data suggest that knowledge of the biomass of primary and secondary dispersing fauna facilitates predictions for the likelihood of disturbed habitat to regenerate and comparisons of sites in broader geographical areas e.g., Neotropical vs. Paleotropical forests.

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    • "monkeys elsewhere occupy fragmented landscapes and individual fragments as small as a few ha (Bicca- Marques 2003; Vulinec et al. 2006), there is no information about the behavior, density and habitat selection of A. p. aequatorialis in the fragmented tropical dry forests of coastal Ecuador. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Ecuadorian mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata aequatorialis) is classified vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting, yet little is known about the subspecies in the southern part of its range, and previous studies have been conducted in humid forests. Here we present the first data on Ecuadorian mantled howler monkeys in Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, a large fragment of tropical dry forest near Guayaquil Ecuador in the south of the subspecies range. The protected forest is a mosaic of old forest, recovering secondary forest and areas restored by planting native tree species. We used a triangulation survey to locate howler monkeys by their calls and assess habitat selection and population density. Although we found a diurnal pattern in calling behavior, with increased loud calls heard during midday, no temporal pattern was found in the number of calls triangulated. Mean cluster sizes of Ecuadorian mantled howler monkeys in Cerro Blanco Protected Forest are smaller than those observed for A. palliata at other sites. We calculated an overall density of 7.71 (95% CI: 4.08–14.19) clusters per km2, which equates to 47 individuals per km2 (95% CI: 25–87 individuals). Ecuadorian mantled howler monkeys did not appear to select or avoid any of the habitat characteristics measured, which is encouraging as we found no evidence clusters were avoiding regenerating or replanted areas.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment
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    • "Despite this, our results point towards a need for greater research attention to be directed towards investigating the impacts of RIL at a microhabitat scale, as we found that bare ground and leaf material coverage are important variables underpinning dung beetle assemblage composition. Observed changes in the dung beetle community may also be explained by a shift in the relative availability of large mammal faeces , in particular that from primates (Feer and Pincebourde, 2005; Ponce-Santizo et al., 2006; Vulinec et al., 2006) which comprise high biomass in neotropical forests (Parry et al., 2007). Primate densities are known to be correlated with logging intensity (Chapman et al., 2000), and in the Iwokrama Forest are affected by RIL (Bicknell and Peres, 2010). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) are sensitive to habitat perturbations and are easily studied, making them an ideal taxonomic group with which to evaluate the effects of low-intensity anthropogenic disturbances such as Reduced-Impact Logging. Here we examine the effect of a certified Reduced-Impact Logging operation on dung beetles, and demonstrate their suitability for use in rapid ecological impact studies. We sampled dung beetle assemblages, environmental variables and timber extraction rates across four treatment groups in closed canopy and canopy gaps in logged and unlogged forest in Guyana. Community analysis revealed that logged forest supported a more uniform dung beetle assemblage compared to unlogged forest. Differences in assemblage structure were driven by dissimilarity between closed canopy treatments, as plots in artificial and natural canopy gaps supported comparable assemblages. Indicator analyses were conducted across treatments, using a new approach (CLAM) and two well-established methods (IndVal, SIMPER). Two species respectively were classified as indicators of logged (Hansreia affinis and Eurysternus caribaeus) and unlogged forest (Canthidium aff. centrale and Deltochilum (Calhyboma) carinatum). BIO-ENV analysis demonstrated that tree extraction intensity, bare ground cover, and ground cover by leaf material were key factors influencing dung beetle assemblages. Despite the relatively low-impact of Reduced-Impact Logging reported by previous studies, we find that dung beetles are sensitive to even small changes in environmental conditions as a result of this form of anthropogenic disturbance. As dung beetles are a highly responsive taxonomic group, we illustrate that they represent a valuable taxon that can be used to critically evaluate best practice forestry operations and other disturbance activities, particularly in time constrained studies (e.g., rapid monitoring and environmental impact assessments). However, we recommend the use of multiple indicator analyses to monitor potential changes in assemblage composition, due to a lack of congruence between methods.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Ecological Indicators
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    • "Anthropogenic disturbance after abandonment is relatively low, availability of seed dispersal agents is usually high, old-growth forests are close to abandoned areas, and forest patches have high connectivity (Finegan & Nasi 2004). All these factors favor high rates of dispersal and colonization of forest species and therefore contribute to a rapid species accumulation in secondary forests (e.g., Finegan & Nasi 2004; Vulinec et al. 2006). Moreover, traditional management practices enhance fallow succession and favor species that catalyze forest regrowth (Diemont et al. 2006). "
    Full-text · Dataset · Dec 2012
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