The 82nd Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2013)


PRIMATE HABITAT SELECTION NEAR HUMANS IN NORTHERN MADAGASCAR: THE EDGE OF A PRIMARY FOREST VS. FOREST FRAGMENTS

BENJAMIN Z. FREED.

Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work, Eastern Kentucky University

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In forests that were subjected to low-level logging, Ganzhorn (1995) found that increased sun exposure of the tree crown related directly to fruit production, and may help raise the carrying capacity of frugivorous primates. In this study, I compared populations of two frugivorous species, crowned lemurs (Eulemur coronatus) and Sanford’s lemurs (Eulemur sanfordi), in two kinds of forest in which low-level tree removal has occurred: in four edges of primary forest in Mt. d’Ambre, and in four forest fragments near humans west of Mt. d’Ambre. Broad surveys were conducted in 1989-1991, 2004, and 2009-2010. Conservation threats were assessed through examination of remote-sensing images, and by observing evidence of human use of local forests. Although I surveyed more than twenty forest fragments, all but four experienced extensive logging during the last thirty years. I found few differences in the numbers of lemur groups encountered in low-level logging fragments and in the four primary forest edges of Mt. d’Ambre. Several factors may explain the large numbers of lemur groups in both types of habitat: 1) compared with non-edge primary regions of Mt. d’Ambre, both fragments and primary forest edges have more light gaps, and may have increased fruit production; 2) foresters and neighboring humans have introduced fruit species (Lantana camara, Musa, Tamarindus, and Carica); and 3) local humans, perhaps resulting from the adherence to local traditions, have largely resisted hunting, forest encroachment, and large-scale logging.

Funding was provided by: NSF (BNS 8722340), Collaborative Fulbright Award, National Geographic Society (2004, Lisa Gezon & Glen Green, PIs, 7413.03), Canadian Social Science & Humanities Research Council (2010, Andrew Walsh & Ian Colquhoun, PIs), Eastern Kentucky University, Emory University, Boise Fund, and Sigma Xi.

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