Species Distribution Modeling for Conservation Planning: Improving Decisions for Mammal Conservation

Scientific team

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Summary

Modeling species distribution is a promising field for improving conservation efforts and setting priorities in decision making. The Species Distribution Models (SDMs) have been used as a conservation tool in the National Action Plans for Endangered Species since 2009 in Brazil. Researchers, modelers and decision makers have worked together using SDMs for guiding decisions and actions in conservation. A collaborative researcher’s network has been established for providing recent and accurate species presence for modelling, representing one of the biggest effort for conservation in the neotropics. Models have been generated for endangered mammals (Panthera onca, Puma concolor, Puma yagouaroundi, Leopardus pardalis, Leopardus wiedii, Leopardus tigrinus, Leopardus colocolo, Leopardus geoffroyi, Chrysocyon brachyurus, Speothos venaticus, Myrmecophaga tridactyla and Catagonus wagneri), by using presence data and environmental variables (bioclimatic, topographical, landscape, anthropogenic) in Maxent. Model results have allowed to update the current species distribution, evaluate the suitability of biomes for species occurrence, identify gaps in database, identify key areas for conservation efforts and potential corridors, improve the assessment of endangered species, and help the identification of potential areas of conflicts. Furthermore, the resulting maps have provided stakeholders with distribution information and clear results stimulating debates and discussions which otherwise may not have occurred. We stress that the assessment of conservation priorities for endangered species should consider the actual species distribution and environmental suitability of landscape in a modeling framework.

Mammal Conservation at Serra do Mar Biodiversity Corridor: Applied Ecology, Human Dimensions and Conservation Planning

Scientific team

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Summary

The Atlantic Forest biome has suffered defaunation processes resulting in the loss of ecological functions that compromised their ecosystem services. This study aims to describe the trophic ecology, functional diversity and occurrence of terrestrial mammals in preserved areas (N=5) located at the largest forest continuum of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. The study includes the isotopic analysis of fecal samples and hair carnivorous mammals, analysis of the functional diversity of the sampled communities; camera trapping for estimating abundance, density, co-occurrence, and analysis of trophic networks. The integration of different researchers and institutions will allow the exercise of interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity and transversality for the conservation of the Atlantic Forest biome. Also, this project is linked to other four projects that will be conducted concurrently – “Trophic Ecology, Functional Diversity and Occurrence of Terrestrial Mammals in the Atlantic Forest”, coordinated by Katia Ferraz PhD, “Ecological consequences of defaunation in the Atlantic rainforest”, coordinated by Mauro Galetti PhD, “Use, habitat selection and jaguar movement in the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga biome: a comparative analysis”, coordinate by Ronaldo G. Morato PhD, “Genetic diversity of felines (P. concolor, L. pardalis, L. tigrinus e P. yagouaroundi) and effect of the presence of mesopredator (L. pardalis) density and genetic diversity of the species of small-sized felines”, coordinated by Pedro M. Galetti Jr. PhD – will result in one of the largest conservation efforts in a biodiversity hotspot. Finally, the results shall contribute to the goals of the National Action Plans for the Conservation of Endangered Species of Felines, coordinated by CENAP/ICMBio.

Isotopic Ecology of Mammals in Brazilian Biomes: A tool improving mammal conservation

Scientific team 

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Summary

The changes in the ecosystems caused by human activities involve a number of consequences for biodiversity, causing beyond the loss of species and gene flow, changes in habitat use and resources. This study aims to analyze the trophic ecology of mammals in pristine and human-dominated landscapes in the Brazilian biomes, through the analysis of stable isotopes. Samples will be analyzed and compared between different biomes, and also between pristine and anthropogenic areas, offering information about differences in eating habits and habitat use by species, structure the trophic chain and influence of the anthropic matrix. This project involves partnerships with several researchers and conservation projects, becoming a multidisciplinary initiative to produce data on the ecology, biology and behavior of the species of Brazilian fauna.

Institutions: Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz", São Paulo State University, Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade, Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV), Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina (Unisul), UVV | Centro Universitário Vila Velha, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México (UAEM), Universidade Federal de Goiás / Regional Catalão, Panthera.

Macroecological Patterns for the Loss of Ecosystem Services in Anthropocene:

Allying Phylogeny, Functional Attributes, and Diversity of Neotropical Mammals.

Scientific team 

Financial support:

Summary

Mammals play several ecological roles and among 4,556 terrestrial species, 1,169 are highly endangered. Several studies showed important downstream effects of species loss on ecosystem functioning. The suitable functioning of ecosystems provides ecosystem services benefiting human populations. Taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversities can contribute to the evaluation of the ecosystems services. From a perspective of continued species loss, remain gaps to understand the ecosystem services promoted by mammals and the impacts defaunation processes on these services. Through a careful evaluation of functional attributes and phylogenetic diversity of Neotropical mammals, we aim to discover and predict the effects of defaunation on the ecosystems functioning, measured via ecosystem services. Based on a recent phylogeny of mammals, we built a database of functional attributes for all 1,669 species of the Neotropical region. According to the functional attributes and their services promoting, we will analyze the data with ecological network approaches for real and theoretical scenarios simulating the effects of defaunation. We aimed to understand how patterns and threats to the mammalian diversity influence ecological processes that are directly linked to human well-being.

 

Institutions: Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz", São Paulo State University, University of East Anglia (Norwich, UK).

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