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Medium to large-sized mammals in agricultural landscapes of south-eastern Brazil

Dotta, Graziela, Verdade, Luciano M.
Mammalia 2011 v.75 no.4 pp. 345-352
Eucalyptus, forest habitats, habitat fragmentation, indigenous species, mammals, pastures, plantations, species diversity, sugarcane, Brazil
We determined the patterns of distribution and abundance of medium to large-sized mammals on an agricultural landscape in south-eastern Brazil. Here, we discuss some management recommendations to improve the conservation value of agricultural landscapes. From July 2003 to June 2004 we surveyed 284.4 km transects searching for tracks and visualizations of mammals in the main environments of an agricultural landscape in south-eastern Brazil. We recorded 25 native species, two exotic and six domestic species in the area: 23 species on native forest fragments, 19 on sugarcane plantations, 17 on eucalyptus plantations, and 12 on pasture areas. There were significant differences in species richness and frequency of occurrence among these environments. Pasture areas had the lowest species richness and sugarcane plantations the greatest frequency of occurrence. Some species are associated with open areas, whereas other species are associated with forested habitats. Although a considerable part of the original mammal diversity is still present, the community found is predominantly composed of species able to adapt to environmental alterations. Therefore, to improve the conservation value of agricultural landscapes in south-eastern Brazil, the maintenance of native forest fragments is essential, in addition to mitigation measures of the various agricultural impacts.