Primate population densities in three nutrient-poor Amazonian terra firme forests of south-eastern Colombia

Erwin Palacios, Carlos A. Peres

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22 Citations (Scopus)


We censused primate populations at three non-hunted 'terra firme' forests of south-eastern Colombian Amazonia. The aggregate biomass densities of diurnal primates at all sites were amongst the lowest recorded for any non-hunted forest in western Amazonia and elsewhere in the Neotropics. Densities of red howler monkeys were low, as is typical in Amazonian terra firme forests far removed from white-water rivers, and densities of woolly monkeys were 1.5-3.5 times lower than those estimated for this species in central-western Brazilian Amazonia. Densities of small to mid-sized primates except for brown capuchins (Cebus apella) and white-faced capuchins (Cebus albifrons) were similar to those of other oligotrophic Amazonian forest sites. Our results are in agreement with other studies showing that terra firme forests of lowland Amazonia typically sustain a low biomass density of primates and other mid-sized to large vertebrates. Large reserves are therefore required to assure the viability of primate populations in oligotrophic systems. Given the escalating negative impacts of human habitat disturbance and hunting in Colombian Amazonia, we urge that a baseline sampling protocol to quantify the abundance and distribution of the harvest-sensitive vertebrate fauna be established within protected areas and the large indigenous reserves so that conservation efforts can be defined and implemented.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalFolia Primatologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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