Use of agroecosystem matrix habitats by mammalian carnivores (Carnivora): a global‐scale analysis

Aluane S. Ferreira (Lead Author), Carlos A. Peres, Juliano André Bogoni, Camila Righetto Cassano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


1. Less than a quarter of Earth's terrestrial ecosystems remain intact. Protected areas (PAs) are far exceeded in area by natural habitats that have been transformed for agriculture, and PAs are too small to safeguard viable wildlife populations. It is therefore imperative to understand the use of agricultural matrix habitats by native wildlife.
2. In this study we seek to understand how the world's mammalian carnivore species (order Carnivora) use agricultural land. We assessed relationships between agroecosystem type, carnivore species traits and conservation status, and carnivore occurrence at agricultural sites, investigated the prevalent human–carnivore conflicts in anthropogenic landscapes, and identified knowledge gaps.
3. We reviewed 129 studies reporting agroecosystem use by native carnivores to understand which agroecosystem types are used by different species, and which factors may affect their occurrence in these habitats.
4. We uncovered records of 97 wild and two domesticated carnivore species within 41 types of crop in temperate and tropical regions that we classified into four agroecosystem types (agroforestry, tree plantations, perennial cropland, and annual cropland).
5. Non‐threatened carnivore species were more likely to use agricultural ecosystems than threatened species. Adult body mass, energetic trophic level, and locomotion mode were significant predictors of carnivore occupancy in agricultural lands.
6. Our results depict a globally consistent pattern, in which the use of agroecosystem landscapes by mammalian carnivores is related to both species traits and habitat quality. We emphasise the rarity of threatened carnivore and apex predator species in agroecosystems, which strengthens the paramount importance of retaining native habitat within agricultural landscapes. Understanding the role of agricultural habitat matrices, the influence of management intensification, and the threshold areas of native habitats within anthropogenic landscapes are essential for prescribing ways to prevent further erosion of the world's carnivores in human‐modified landscapes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-327
Number of pages16
JournalMammal Review
Issue number4
Early online date17 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

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