Distribution of Wild Mammal Assemblages along an Urban-Rural-Forest Landscape Gradient in Warm-Temperate East Asia

  • Saito M
  • Koike F
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Urbanization may alter mammal assemblages via habitat loss, food subsidies, and other factors related to human activities. The general distribution patterns of wild mammal assemblages along urban-rural-forest landscape gradients have not been studied, although many studies have focused on a single species or taxon, such as rodents. We quantitatively evaluated the effects of the urban-rural-forest gradient and spatial scale on the distributions of large and mid-sized mammals in the world's largest metropolitan area in warm-temperate Asia using nonspecific camera-trapping along two linear transects spanning from the urban zone in the Tokyo metropolitan area to surrounding rural and forest landscapes. Many large and mid-sized species generally decreased from forest landscapes to urban cores, although some species preferred anthropogenic landscapes. Sika deer (Cervus nippon), Reeves' muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi), Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata), Japanese squirrel (Sciurus lis), Japanese marten (Martes melampus), Japanese badger (Meles anakuma), and wild boar (Sus scrofa) generally dominated the mammal assemblage of the forest landscape. Raccoon (Procyon lotor), raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides), and Japanese hare (Lepus brachyurus) dominated the mammal assemblage in the intermediate zone (i.e., rural and suburban landscape). Cats (feral and free-roaming housecats; Felis catus) were common in the urban assemblage. The key spatial scales for forest species were more than 4000-m radius, indicating that conservation and management plans for these mammal assemblages should be considered on large spatial scales. However, small green spaces will also be important for mammal conservation in the urban landscape, because an indigenous omnivore (raccoon dog) had a smaller key spatial scale (500-m radius) than those of forest mammals. Urbanization was generally the most important factor in the distributions of mammals, and it is necessary to consider the spatial scale of management according to the degree of urbanization.

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  • Masayuki Saito

  • Fumito Koike

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