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Carrying Capacity and Potential Production of Ungulates for Human Use in a Mexican Tropical Dry Forest

Mandujano, Salvador
Biotropica 2007 v.39 no.4 pp. 519-524
Odocoileus virginianus, biomass, carrying capacity, coasts, dry forests, humans, logit analysis, models, population growth, predation, predators, rain, tropical forests, ungulates, Mexico
Data are provided on the carrying capacity and potential production for sustainable human use of white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) in a protected tropical dry forest at Chamela on the Pacific coast of Mexico. In this paper, the carrying capacity was defined as the equilibrium density plus the number of animals removed by predators. The equilibrium point was estimated from the density dependent relationship between the finite population growth rate and the current density according to a logistic model. Annual density was estimated using the line transect method. Carrying capacity estimates were 16.5 to 17.2 deer/km² and 9.3-9.5 peccaries/km², representing a combined biomass of 841-874 kg/km². A potential production for human use of 2.1 deer/km² and 4.4 peccaries/km² was estimated employing the model of Robinson and Redford (1991) . The data suggest that, in the protected tropical dry forest of Chamela, the density and biomass of wild ungulates can maintain a similar or greater density and biomass than other Neotropical forests. To obtain an accurate estimation of the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), it is necessary to consider predation. From a management point of view, it is important to consider that carrying capacity varies as a function of the rainfall pattern.