HABITAT FRAGMENTATION LOWERS SURVIVAL OF A TROPICAL FOREST BIRD

Authors

  • Viviana Ruiz-Gutiérrez,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Corson Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853 USA
    2. Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York 14850 USA
    •  Address for correspondence: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Bird Population Studies, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York 14850 USA. E-mail: vr45@cornell.edu

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  • Thomas A. Gavin,

    1. Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, Fernow Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853 USA
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  • André A. Dhondt

    1. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Corson Hall, Ithaca, New York 14853 USA
    2. Laboratory of Ornithology, Cornell University, 159 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca, New York 14850 USA
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  • Corresponding Editor: E. Cuevas.

Abstract

Population ecology research has long been focused on linking environmental features with the viability of populations. The majority of this work has largely been carried out in temperate systems and, until recently, has examined the effects of habitat fragmentation on survival. In contrast, we looked at the effect of forest fragmentation on apparent survival of individuals of the White-ruffed Manakin (Corapipo altera) in southern Costa Rica. Survival and recapture rates were estimated using mark–recapture analyses, based on capture histories from 1993 to 2006. We sampled four forest patches ranging in size from 0.9 to 25 ha, and four sites in the larger 227-ha Las Cruces Biological Station Forest Reserve (LCBSFR). We found a significant difference in annual adult apparent survival rates for individuals marked and recaptured in forest fragments vs. individuals marked and recaptured in the larger LCBSFR. Contrary to our expectation, survival and recapture probabilities did not differ between male and female manakins. Also, there was no support for the existence of annual variation in survival within each study site. Our results suggest that forest fragmentation is likely having an effect on population dynamics for the White-ruffed Manakin in this landscape. Therefore, populations that appear to be persisting in fragmented landscapes might still be at risk of local extinction, and conservation action for tropical birds should be aimed at identifying and reducing sources of adult mortality. Future studies in fragmentation effects on reproductive success and survival, across broad geographical scales, will be needed before it is possible to achieve a clear understanding of the effects of habitat fragmentation on populations for both tropical and temperate regions.

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