Effect of protection status on mammal richness and abundance in Afromontane forests of the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania

Jones, Trevor and Hawes, Joseph E. and Norton, Guy W. and Hawkins, Dawn M. (2019) Effect of protection status on mammal richness and abundance in Afromontane forests of the Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania. Biological Conservation, 229. pp. 78-84. ISSN 0006-3207

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2018.11.015

Abstract

The effectiveness of Protected Areas (PAs) in reducing hunting pressure on mammal populations in tropical forests has rarely been examined at a community-wide level. In African forests, commercial and subsistence hunting are widespread, but assessments of mammal abundance and distribution patterns are often lacking. We investigated patterns of occupancy and abundance for 27 species of medium- to large-bodied mammals (>2 kg) within Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains Afromontane forests, a global biodiversity hotspot. We sampled 22 forest sites within 10 forests under varying degrees of protection, elevation, distance to extractive communities, and levels of law enforcement. We sampled 251.7 km of recce line transects during dry seasons (July–November) between September 2007 and July 2010. We found a strong positive effect of protection status on species richness and on encounter rates of the most commonly encountered species. Consistent with the levels of resources and enforcement within each PA category, there was a significant progression in species richness and abundance from Forest Reserves through Nature Reserves to sites within Udzungwa Mountains National Park. Protective status closely reflected levels of disturbance. Snaring activity, and distance to ranger posts were identified as significant predictors of overall species richness and encounter rates for mammal species, including endemics. The species-area relationship for our study species was found to be largely overridden by levels of protection. Our findings demonstrate PA effectiveness in Afromontane forests and reinforce concerns over hunting pressures particularly the threat posed by snares.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Biodiversity hotspot, Hunting pressure, Protected area, Tropical forest
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Technology
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2018 17:15
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2018 17:15
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/703870

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