Interdisciplinary, Organizational, and Liberal Studies, Arizona State University
April 16, 2016 , Atrium Ballroom A/B
To understand a particular species’ or community’s response to forest fragments, the habitat attributes and the landscape pattern must first be quantified. However, methodology that identifies the influence of landscape pattern and local habitat structural attributes on species or community viability is under-developed for non-human primates in forest fragments. Successful primate conservation requires an understanding of how environmental variability at both micro- and macro-scales affects community structure and habitat use. The objective of this research was to explore the effect of landscape spatial pattern and heterogeneity at multiple scales on the habitat use, behavior, and movement patterns of five diurnal lemurs in Betampona Natural Reserve, Madagascar. Vegetation structural analysis within forest patches, point-counts, and radio-collar aided follows, in conjunction with Geographic Information Systems, were methods used to address the disconnect that has emerged involving the importance of landscape spatial pattern and primate extinction risk. Results of this research include: (1) quantified patches in the reserve demonstrate differences in micro- and macro-habitat attributes, (2) variation exists in lemur community structure and diversity indices within defined patches, and (3) point-count data suggest that micro- and macro-habitat features affect lemur resting, moving, and feeding behaviors, whereas radio-collar-aided follows indicate that macrohabitat has less of an effect on lemur behavior. The consideration of an organism-focused view of heterogeneity is important, as the perceived quality of the habitat may act as an environmental boundary thus limiting the connectivity of the forest for some lemurs. This is particularly important with respect to connectivity and corridor projects.