For many animal families, diversity and abundance rises as one moves away from human-impacted landscapes, like agricultural areas, into untouched places, such as primary rainforests. However, a new study in mongabay.com’s open access journal Tropical Conservation Science, shows that the inverse can also be true. In this case, scientists working in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) Masako Forest found that both rodent diversity and abundance was lowest in primary forest.
Capturing over 1,200 rodents across 24 species, scientists found that abundance and diversity were highest in transition areas between secondary forest and fallow cropland and lowest in primary forests. This is not entirely surprising as past studies have found similar results. Many rodents species thrive in human-impacted landscapes.
The scientists also found that rodent abundance changed significantly during seasons in secondary forest and fallow cropland. However, in primary forests, seasonality made little difference.
Other research has shown that sometimes bird diversity is actually higher in a landscape of forest patches and cropland than in primary rainforests. Still, primary forests often contains specialist species found no-where else.
CITATION: Iyongo Waya Mongo, L., Visser, M., De Cannière, C., Verheyen, E., Dudu Akaibe, B., Ulyel Ali-Patho, J., and Bogaert, J.
2012. Anthropisation et effets de lisière : impacts sur la diversité des rongeurs dans la Réserve Forestière de Masako (Kisangani, R.D. Congo). Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 5(3):270-283.
(08/22/2012) The Indonesian island of Sulawesi is a workshop of bizarre evolutionary experiments. Think of the babirusa, pig-like species with tusks that puncture their snouts; or the maleo, a ground-bird that lays its eggs in geothermal heated sand; or the anoa, the world’s smallest wild cattle. Now the island, made up of four intersecting peninsulas, can add another bizarre creature to its menagerie of marvels: the Paucidentomys vermidax, a new species of rodent that is different from all others.
(08/07/2012) In order to disperse their seeds, large-fruited tropical trees probably relied on massive mammals that roamed the earth over 10,000 years ago. But with giants such as the mastodon now extinct, thieving rodents—who continually excavate and rebury others’ seeds—may be filling their role, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
(07/25/2012) The short-tailed chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla) once inhabited a range including the mountainous regions of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru, but today the species survives in only a handful of areas in northern Chile and Argentina. Worse still, evidence of the Argentinean populations are restricted to remains discovered in the droppings of their natural predators. But, since 2011, Pablo Valladares from the University of Tarapaca in conjunction with the National Forestry Corporation of Chile (CONAF) has been searching Tres Cruces National Park for previously undocumented populations, and it has finally paid off: Valladares and colleagues discovered two new colonies with remote camera traps.