Human-modified landscape acts as refuge for mammals in atlantic forest

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Abstract

Human-modified landscapes (HMLs) are composed by small, isolated and defaunated forest fragments, which are surrounded by agricultural and urban areas. Information on species that thrives in these HMLs is essential to direct conservation strategies in local and regional scales. Since HMLs are dominant in the Atlantic Forest, we aimed to assess the mammalian diversity in a HML in southeastern Brazil and to propose conservation strategies. We collected data of terrestrial (small-, medium- and large-sized) and volant mammals in three small forest fragments (10, 14 and 26 ha) and adjacent areas, between 2003 and 2016, using complementary methods: active search, camera trapping, live-traps, mist nets and occasional records (i.e., roadkills). In addition, we used secondary data to complement our species list. We recorded 35 native mammal species (6 small-sized, 16 mediumand large-sized, and 13 bats) and seven exotic species in the HML. The recorded mammal assemblage (non-volant and volant), although mainly composed of common and generalist species, includes three medium- and large-sized species nationally threatened (Leopardus guttulus, Puma concolor and Puma yagouaroundi) and two data deficient species (Galictis cuja and Histiotus velatus), highlighting the importance of this HML for the maintenance and conservation of mammal populations. Despite highly impacted by anthropogenic disturbances, the study area harbors a significant richness of medium- and large-sized mammals, being an important biodiversity refuge in the region. However, this biodiversity is threatened by the low quality of the habitats, roadkills and abundant populations of domestic cats and dogs. Therefore, we stress the need of conservation strategies focusing on the medium- and large-sized mammals as an umbrella group, which could benefit all biodiversity in the landscape. We recommend actions that promotes biological restoration, aiming to increase structural composition and connectivity of the forest fragments, reducing roadkills and controlling the domestic cats and dogs’ populations, in order to maintain and improve the diversity of mammals in long-term.

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Bovo, A. A. de A., Magioli, M., Percequillo, A. R., Kruszynski, C., Alberici, V., Mello, M. A. R., … Ferraz, K. M. P. M. de B. (2018). Human-modified landscape acts as refuge for mammals in atlantic forest. Biota Neotropica, 18(2). https://doi.org/10.1590/1676-0611-BN-2017-0395

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