Data from: Assessing the conservation value of secondary savanna for large mammals in the Brazilian Cerrado
Ferreira, Guilherme B. et al. (2017), Data from: Assessing the conservation value of secondary savanna for large mammals in the Brazilian Cerrado, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.mf6h7
Debate about the conservation value of secondary habitats has tended to focus on tropical forests, increasingly recognizing the role of secondary forests for biodiversity conservation. However, there remains a lack of information about the conservation value of secondary savannas. Here, we conducted a camera trap survey to assess the effect of secondary vegetation on large mammals in a Brazilian Cerrado protected area, using a single-season occupancy framework to investigate the response of individual species (species-level models) and of all species combined (community-level models). In addition, we investigated the cost effectiveness of different sampling designs to monitor globally threatened species in the study area. At the community level, savanna that regenerated from eucalyptus plantation had similar occupancy estimate as old growth areas. At the species level, none of the ten species individually assessed seemed to respond to succession stage, with greater support for the effect of other covariates on occupancy, such as distance from water and vegetation physiognomy. These results demonstrate that secondary vegetation does not appear to negatively impact large mammals in the study area and suggest that, given a favorable context, Cerrado mammals can recolonize and use secondary savannas that regenerated from clearcut. However, our study area should be considered a best-case scenario, as it retained key ecological attributes of high-value secondary habitats. Our simulations showed that a sampling design with 60 camera trap sites surveyed during nine occasions is appropriate to monitor most globally threatened species in the study area, and could be a useful starting point for new monitoring initiatives in other Cerrado areas.