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Permeability of Neotropical agricultural lands to a key native ungulate – are well-connected forests important?

Citation

Jorge, Maria Luisa S. P. et al. (2020), Permeability of Neotropical agricultural lands to a key native ungulate – are well-connected forests important?, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.4qrfj6q82

Abstract

Much of what remains of the Earth’s tropical forests is embedded within agricultural landscapes, where forest is reduced and fragmented. As native forest ungulates are critical to maintaining forest function, it is imperative to understand how this functional group responds to declines in forest cover and connectivity resulting from agricultural expansion. We addressed this issue by evaluating selection of forest cover and forest connectivity by a key native ungulate of Neotropical forests, the white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari Link 1795, Tayassuidae, Cetartiodactyla), in agricultural landscapes of Brazil. We evaluated selection using compositional analysis at two hierarchical levels, landscape and home range. From 2013 to 2019, we GPS-tracked eight white-lipped peccary herds in Southwest Brazil, resulting in a total of 14,460 GPS locations. We found that herds can live in landscapes with a wide range of forest cover (35-81% of home ranges covered by native forest), with significant, but not strong, selection at the landscape level (p = 0.045). Nevertheless, herds strongly select for forest cover within their home ranges (81-97% of locations within native forest; highly significant selection at the home-range level: p = 0.008). As for connectivity, herds significantly select the largest, most connected forest fragments at the landscape level (p=0.04), but not at the home-range level (p=0.07). Our results support that Neotropical forests within agricultural landscapes need to be well-connected in order to preserve this key native ungulate, and maintain long-term forest function.

Methods

  • We GPS-tracked 13 white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) between 2013 and 2019, in farmlands of Southwest Brazil, within the Cerrado biome.
  • We mapped the proportion of native forest and how connected the forest was in the Study Areas, using  .
  • We tested if white-lipped peccary herds were selecting more connected forest compared to what was available, using Compositional Analyses.

Funding

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2013/50421-2

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2014/23132-2

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 312045/2013-1

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 312292/2016-3

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 161089/2014-3

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Award: 88881.068425/2014-01

Vanderbilt University

Wildlife Conservation Society

Silicon Valley Community Foundation

The Overbrook Foundation

International ReSource Award

The Overbrook Foundation

International ReSource Award