The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 05. Herpetofaunal responses to anthropogenic habitat change within a small forest reserve in Eastern Ecuador

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Open Access

pp. 209
Authors: Beirne, Christopher; Burdekin, Oliver & Whitworth, Andrew

Abstract: One of the key drivers of worldwide species loss is habitat change, defined as habitat deforestation, fragmentation and deterioration. We studied the effects of structural habitat change on herpetological richness and diversity in the Yachana Reserve, Amazonian Ecuador, using pitfall traps and visual encounter surveys between 2009 and 2010, recording 1551 amphibians of 37 different species and 234 reptiles of 27 species. Estimated species richness and diversity was less in pastureland and plantation habitats. Abandoned plantations supported relatively high abundances of individuals, but were markedly depauperate in species richness and diversity. Abandoned pastureland showed the opposite trend, retaining higher species richness and diversity than abandoned plantation sites, but in significantly lower relative abundances. We emphasize the importance of small reserves with a matrix of anthropogenic disturbance in preserving areas of primary habitat and providing areas of secondary regeneration. Such reserves can aid in the identification of the factors that underlie inter-specific variation in response to habitat change at the species level.

Keywords: REPTILES, CACAO PLANTATION, HERPETOFAUNA, HABITAT STRUCTURE, AMPHIBIANS, REGENERATING TROPICAL FOREST, HABITAT CHANGE

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