The influence of large tree density on howler monkey (Alouatta palliata mexicana) presence in very small rain forest fragments

  • Arroyo-Rodríguez V
  • Mandujano S
  • Benítez-Malvido J
 et al. 
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Abstract

The populations of the Mexican mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata mexicana) in the Los Tuxtlas region, Mexico, have declined drastically due to habitat loss and fragmentation. Nevertheless, several troops still inhabit very small and isolated rain forest fragments. We identified the main vegetation attributes that can favor the presence of howlers within 18 small (< 10-ha) fragments that did not differ significantly in size, shape, and isolation (nine occupied and nine unoccupied by howlers). We found that habitat quality (i.e., food resources and vegetation structure) affected howler incidence in small fragments. Particularly, the occupied fragments showed greater density of big trees (dbh > 60 cm), greater total basal area, greater basal area of persistent tree species, and greater basal area of top food species than the unoccupied fragments; suggesting that even for small fragments the loss of big trees and particularly the decrease in size class of the top food species can negatively affect howler distribution in highly fragmented landscapes. These findings could be used to establish foreground conservation areas for this critically endangered subspecies in fragmented landscapes of Los Tuxtlas

Author-supplied keywords

  • Fragmentation
  • Habitat quality
  • Los Tuxtlas
  • Mexican mantled howler monkeys
  • Mexico

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Authors

  • Víctor Arroyo-Rodríguez

  • Salvador Mandujano

  • Julieta Benítez-Malvido

  • Carla Cuende-Fanton

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