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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


KELT, DOUGLAS A.. Differential effects of habitat fragmentation on birds and mammals in Valdivian temperate rainforests. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2001, vol.74, n.4, pp.769-777. ISSN 0716-078X.

Four recent studies on Chilean vertebrates underscore the very different effects that habitat fragmentation may have under different conditions. In southern Chile, birds exhibited significant species-area relationships, whereas the more depauperate small mammal community did not. The avifauna of highly isolated rainforest remnants in Fray Jorge National Park (IV Región) presented steeper species-area relations than those in southern Chile, reminiscent of land-bridge islands after faunal relaxation. The small mammal results were unexpected but may reflect the reduced vagility and immigration potential of this group. Additionally, the inter-remnant matrix habitat may support large populations of only some species, allowing them to capitalize on resources that are available in forest remnants. Such an effect is less likely for birds due to their greater vagility. Although the influence of remnant area is more clearly demonstrated for birds in Chile, it appears that small mammal assemblages may be more immediately impacted by habitat fragmentation than are birds, and that further fragmentation of temperate rainforests will seriously impoverish the small mammal assemblage, many of whose members are endemic to this region. Further research should emphasize the role of the inter-remnant matrix, of habitat corridors, and of the relative sensitivity of different species to matrix/corridor quality and remnant isolation

Keywords : habitat fragmentation; Valdivian temperate rainforest; small mammals; birds; conservation.

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