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Effects of roads and trails on vegetation, fruit availability and birds in a protected area of Atlantic Forest in southeastern Brazil

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Author(s):
Bruna Gonçalves da Silva
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: Campinas, SP.
Institution: Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Instituto de Biologia
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Wesley Rodrigues Silva; Erica Hasui; Augusto João Piratelli; Alexander Vicente Christianini; Flavio Antonio Maës dos Santos
Advisor: Wesley Rodrigues Silva
Abstract

The dynamics of gaps imposed by roads and trails can affect natural ecosystems and ecological processes. Great part of the Atlantic Forest remnants is intersected by numerous roads and trails, which cross even protected areas. The presence of pathways may affect the plant and animals communities, such as habitat structure, plant reproductive processes and wildlife behavior. However, the effects of width and usage of the pathways on fauna and flora in the Atlantic Forest are not well known. Here we investigate if (1) the plant community, (2) fruit availability, and (4) fruit-eating bird community are affected by pathwyas, and (4) make a diagnosis of the pathway¿s impact and propose local strategies of conservation related to the intensive use of pathways. Data were gathered between 2013 and 2015 in three pathways inside forest, with varying widths and use ¿ main road (20m wide - high usage), secondary road (10m wide - low usage), touristic trail (2m wide - high usage) ¿ and in a control area, with eight 100 m2 plots within each area. We sampled the structure and composition of vegetation, fruit availability and seasonality and fruit-eating bird community. This study showed that vegetation structure and composition change at the wide pathways edges (10-20 m) when compared to narrow pathways (2 m) or the control area; that the availability of zoocoric fruits is greater in a continuous area far from the pathways edges and the production of anemocoric fruits was larger at the edges of wider pathways. Fruiting peaks occurred at the pathways edges, but not in the control area. Frugivorous birds were more abundant in control and on the pathway with low use, while omnivores were more abundant in the wider pathway. Pathway width coupled with pathway use and fruit availability were the most important components in determining the bird community. For frugivores, the usage is more important than width. Our results demonstrate that pathways presence and use generate responses in plant community, changes in fruit production, and affect the birds. Habitat changing, food resources limitation, and the presence of disturbances that may scare the fauna can lead to the disappearance of some species in the long term, jeopardizing ecological processes and, consequently, the conservation of the severely fragmented Atlantic Forest. Regulating the implementation and use of roads in protected areas, as well as monitoring and educational strategies, are essential to minimize impacts on natural communities in the Atlantic forest (AU)

FAPESP's process: 13/11175-6 - EFFECTS OF ROADS AND TRAILS IN THE VEGETATION STRUCTURE AND AVAILABILITY OF RESOURCES FOR THE ATLANTIC FOREST FRUGIVOROUS BIRDS
Grantee:Bruna Gonçalves da Silva
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate