Patch- and landscape-scale effects on howler monkey distribution and abundance in rainforest fragments


Alberto Anzures-Dadda, División de Posgrado, Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Km 2.5 Carr. Antigua a Coatepec #351, Congregación El Haya, Xalapa, Veracruz 91070, Mexico.


Variation at both the patch and landscape scale is known to influence the distribution and abundance of arboreal monkeys in rainforest fragments. However, few studies have examined the factors associated with these different scales of focus simultaneously. Using stepwise logistic-regression and generalized linear models (GLMs), howler monkey Alouatta palliata distribution and abundance were examined as a function of patch quality (fragment area, shape, tree DBH and canopy height) and landscape connectivity (isolation, total forest area, fragment and road abundance, corridor abundance and length) in 119 rainforest fragments in northern Chiapas, Mexico. The positive correlation observed between monkey distribution (presence/absence) and both fragment area and abundance may be explained by increased resources within larger fragments and those whose proximity allows greater exploration by monkeys. In contrast, GLM analysis indicated that monkey abundance in inhabited fragments was positively correlated with corridor abundance, canopy height and fragment area. These relationships could be explained by greater reproductive investments by monkeys in forest fragments whose size, degree of perturbation and degree of connectivity with other fragments suggest greater overall resource availability. Future studies should explicitly include a multi-scale approach to understanding the factors affecting patterns of monkey distribution and abundance, particularly as this relates to measures of and interactions between patch connectivity and resource availability.