A possible role of plantations for primate conservation in Madagascar

Authors

  • Jörg U. Ganzhorn

    Corresponding author
    1. Abt. Verhaltensphysiologie, Beim Kupferhammer 8, Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany; Duke University Primate Center, Durham, North Carolina
    • Abt. Verhaltensphysiologie, Beim Kupferhammer 8, 7400 Tübingen, FRG
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Abstract

The utilization of eucalyptus plantations by seven sympatric species of prosimians was studied in the eastern rainforest of Madagascar. The species were Avahi laniger, Cheirogaleus major, Hapalemur griseus, Indri indri, Lemur fulvus, Lepilemur mustelinus, and Microcebus rufus. None of the lemurs was ever found in young eucalyptus plantations with little undergrowth. This was mainly due to the lack of travel opportunities within the shrub layer and between the shrubs and the canopy. Food (mainly berries) is seasonally available in the shrub layer but cannot be exploited because frugivorous lemurs cannot reach it. Old eucalyptus plantations with dense undergrowth are used by all prosimian species. They provide food as well as travel and resting facilities. Mixed tree plantations in the western part of Madagascar were used by groups of Lemur fulvus, Lepilemur mustelinus, and Propithecus verreauxi. According to these results, old eucalyptus plantations and mixed tree species plantations could be used to provide firewood and construction wood for the human population. They also might extend the habitat for lemurs and serve as buffers against human disturbance.

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