Relative Sensitivities of Mammalian Carnivores to Habitat Fragmentation

Relative Sensitivities of Mammalian Carnivores to Habitat Fragmentation Abstract: I examined the effects of habitat fragmentation on the distribution and abundance of mammalian carnivores in coastal southern California and tested the prediction that responses to fragmentation varied with the body size of carnivore species. I conducted track surveys for nine native and two exotic carnivore species in 29 urban habitat fragments and 10 control sites. Fragment area and isolation were the two strongest landscape descriptors of predator distribution and abundance. Six species were sensitive to fragmentation, generally disappearing as habitat patches became smaller and more isolated; three species were enhanced by fragmentation, with increased abundance in highly fragmented sites; and two species were tolerant of fragmentation, with little to no effect of landscape variables on their distribution and abundance. Within urban habitat fragments, the carnivore visitation rate increased at sites with more exotic cover and closer to the urban edge, a pattern driven largely by the increased abundance of fragmentation‐enhanced carnivores at edge sites. Finally, body size, in conjunction with other ecological characteristics, partially accounted for the heterogeneity in responses to fragmentation among carnivore species. These differential sensitivities are useful criteria for choosing appropriate focal species for ecological research and conservation planning, a choice that depends on the scale of fragmentation in a region and the commensurate responses of carnivore populations at that scale. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

Relative Sensitivities of Mammalian Carnivores to Habitat Fragmentation

Conservation Biology, Volume 16 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
D.O.I.
10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.00386.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract: I examined the effects of habitat fragmentation on the distribution and abundance of mammalian carnivores in coastal southern California and tested the prediction that responses to fragmentation varied with the body size of carnivore species. I conducted track surveys for nine native and two exotic carnivore species in 29 urban habitat fragments and 10 control sites. Fragment area and isolation were the two strongest landscape descriptors of predator distribution and abundance. Six species were sensitive to fragmentation, generally disappearing as habitat patches became smaller and more isolated; three species were enhanced by fragmentation, with increased abundance in highly fragmented sites; and two species were tolerant of fragmentation, with little to no effect of landscape variables on their distribution and abundance. Within urban habitat fragments, the carnivore visitation rate increased at sites with more exotic cover and closer to the urban edge, a pattern driven largely by the increased abundance of fragmentation‐enhanced carnivores at edge sites. Finally, body size, in conjunction with other ecological characteristics, partially accounted for the heterogeneity in responses to fragmentation among carnivore species. These differential sensitivities are useful criteria for choosing appropriate focal species for ecological research and conservation planning, a choice that depends on the scale of fragmentation in a region and the commensurate responses of carnivore populations at that scale.

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Apr 1, 2002

References

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