Introduction The loss of tropical forest is a central conservation issue, and much effort has been invested in understanding the extent of forest conversion, the factors contributing to its loss, and possible solutions to decrease the rate of destruction. Human activities in forests are not limited to the cutting of trees, however, subsistence and commercial hunting have affected large tracks of forest but have left their physical structure relatively unaltered (Redford 1992). For example, subsistence hunting by 230 inhabitants of three Waorani villages in Ecuador kills an estimated 3165 mammals, birds, and reptiles annually (Yost & Kelley 1983). Unfortunately, there is little understanding of h o w these hunting activities alter the processes governing the maintenance and long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems. For example, large animals are the preferred species for hunters, and it may be that these species play particularly significant roles in the dispersal of large, seeded tropical trees (Terborgh 1988; Wrangham et al. 1994). Wrangham et al. ( 1 9 9 4 ) demonstrated that, although chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) constitute only 1.4% of the primate frugivore populations and 14.2% of the primate frugivore biomass, they are responsible for an estimated 45.3% of the seeds defecated
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 1995
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