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Caldasia

Print version ISSN 0366-5232

Abstract

ALONSO-F, Ana Milena et al. Evaluation of structural and functional connectivity in the Podocarpus-Yacuambi conservation corridor, Ecuador. Caldasia [online]. 2017, vol.39, n.1, pp.140-156. ISSN 0366-5232.  http://dx.doi.org/10.15446/caldasia.v39n1.64324.

In order to determine the degree of structural connectivity in the Podocarpus-Yacuambi (Yawi-sumak) ecological corridor in southern Ecuador, landscape metrics were evaluated and functional connectivity was analyzed for three mammalian species with contrasting ecological requirements: Tapirus pinchaque, Cebus albifrons, and Sturnira erythromos. The corridor is a variegated landscape with an area of 315346 hectares, of which 71 percent is forest. However, the forest is highly fragmented with high patch density (0.25/100 ha), high edge density and edge contrast index and low levels of connectivity. At the landscape level, the contagion index was 74 percent and connectivity with a threshold distance of 40 Km reached 74 percent. The optimal habitat for Tapiruspinchaque spanned the largest proportion (78%) of the corridor compared to Sturnira erythromos (72%) and Cebus albifrons (29%). Habitat patches that can serve as "stepping stones" for the three species are found mainly in the districts of Tutupali, 28 de Mayo and Imbana, so it is necessary to prioritize these areas for sustainable production and conservation projects. The study suggests that although forest cover is high, structural connectivity is low due to fragmentation. Functional connectivity for the tapir and the bat is optimal; however, there are bottlenecks in fragmented areas.

Keywords : Quality of habitat; landscape metrics; Tapirus pinchaque; Cebus albifrons; Sturnira erythromos.

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