Fruit gardens enhance mammal diversity and biomass in a Southeast Asian rainforest
Moore, Jonathan Harry and Sittimongkol, Saifon and Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa and Sumpah, Tok and Eichhorn, Markus P. (2016) Fruit gardens enhance mammal diversity and biomass in a Southeast Asian rainforest. Biological Conservation, 194 . pp. 132-138. ISSN 0006-3207
Protected areas are frequently inhabited by people and conservation must be integrated with traditional management systems. Cultivation of fruit gardens is a low-impact agroforestry technique which alters the structure and composition of forest stands and has the potential to thereby influence animal communities. This is of particular interest in the rainforests of Southeast Asia, where limited fruit availability between intermittent mast fruiting events results in low mammal densities. We assessed how agroforestry practises of an indigenous community affect terrestrial mammal abundance, diversity and assemblage composition within Krau Wildlife Reserve, Pahang, Malaysia. We used baited camera traps to compare mammal abundance and diversity between seven fruit gardens and eight control sites. Fruit gardens contained similar species richness and abundance levels but higher diversity and almost threefold higher mammal biomass. Fruit gardens contained five times as many fruit-producing trees and a positive correlation was found between the number of fruit trees and total mammal biomass. Mammal community composition differed between the two habitats, with fruit gardens attracting nine species of conservation concern. These results suggest that traditional agroforestry systems may provide additional resources for mammals and therefore their net effects should be considered in conservation policy.
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