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

Anthropogenic impacts on primate distribution and matrix-edge dynamics in a Bolivian forest


Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria

Friday Afternoon, 301D Add to calendar

Human activities cause changes in the vegetation structure and plant species composition of habitats. Loss of forested land increases fragmentation and the amount of habitat edge. These edges are characterized by the penetration of abiotic factors such as wind, temperature, humidity, and solar radiation. Consequently, changes in microclimate and food resources occur. This study investigates the relationship between a primate community and its distribution between the edge and matrix of a forest in northwestern Bolivia (11˚23'S, 69˚06"W). In total, 10 primate species were surveyed in 6 habitat types along 8 km transects walked at 1 km/hr. In addition, 80 quadrats were sampled at 100 m intervals. Traditional terrestrial census technique was combined with satellite imagery to assess absence, presence, and proximity of species to the edge. For all sightings (n= 121), location, group size, group composition, height, and habitats occupied were recorded. These data show that Saguinus labiatus was found on average closer to forest edges (322 m), while Callimico goeldii was found the farthest from forest edges (650 m). Most primates avoided the forest edge, but Saguinus labiatus and Saguinus fuscicollis seem to be most frequent at these areas. Lastly, satellite images from 1969 and 2012 were examined. Results suggest that the rate of deforestation has more than doubled over the last forty years. Several primate species are exploiting the forest edge more often than before. These results are important for understanding the effects of degraded habitats and anthropogenic impacts on primates in the Amazon.

This study was funded by the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and Northern Illinois University.

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