Multi-scale mammal responses to agroforestry landscapes in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: The conservation value of forest and traditional shade plantations

Aluane Silva Ferreira, Carlos A. Peres, Pavel Dodonov, Camila Righetto Cassano

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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The future of tropical forest biodiversity will largely depend on human-modified landscapes. We investigated how medium- to large-bodied mammals respond to factors at local (habitat type), intermediate (land use heterogeneity, forest cover and human population density) and large spatial scales (overall forest cover) in agroforestry landscapes. We surveyed mammals using camera traps in traditional cacao agroforests (cabrucas), intensified cacao agroforests, and forest remnants within two large Atlantic Forest landscapes of southern Bahia, Brazil, representing both high and low forest cover. At the local scale, habitat types differed in their potential to harbour mammal species, with forest remnants and cabrucas showing high conservation value, mainly under contexts of high forest cover, whereas intensified cacao agroforests contained less diversified species assemblages in both landscapes. At intermediate scales, species richness increased with increasing forest cover around forest remnants and intensified cacao agroforests, but the opposite was observed in cabrucas. The effects of human population density were ubiquitous but species-dependent. At the largest scale, species richness was higher in the most forested landscape, highlighting the imperative of maintaining forest remnants to retain forest-dwelling mammals in human-dominated landscapes. We claim that mammal conservation strategies require a multi-scale approach and that no single strategy is likely to maximize persistence of all species. Some species can routinely use traditional agroforests, and a large fraction of mammal diversity can be maintained even if high canopy-cover agroforestry dominates the landscape. Nevertheless, forest patches and highly forested landscapes are essential to ensure the persistence of forest-dwelling and game species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2331-2341
Number of pages11
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number6
Early online date3 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Agriculture
  • Agroecosystem
  • Forest cover
  • Habitat type
  • Heterogeneity
  • Human density

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