New publication: Impacts of habitat loss and fragmentation on the activity budget, ranging ecology and habitat use of Bale monkeys (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) in the southern Ethiopian Highlands
Understanding the extent to which primates in forest fragments can adjust behaviorally and ecologically to changes caused by deforestation is essential to designing conservation management plans. During a 12-month period, we studied the effects of habitat loss and degradation on the Ethiopian endemic, bamboo specialist, Bale monkey (Chlorocebus djamdjamensis) by comparing its habitat quality, activity budget, ranging ecology and habitat use in continuous forest and two fragments. We found that habitat loss and fragmentation resulted in major differences in vegetation composition and structure between forest types. We also found that Bale monkeys in continuous forest spent more time feeding and traveling and less time resting and socializing than monkeys in fragments. Bale monkeys in continuous forest also had higher movement rates (m/hr) than monkeys in fragments. Bale monkeys in continuous forest used exclusively bamboo and mixed bamboo forest habitats while conspecifics in fragments used a greater variety of habitats including human use areas (i.e., matrix). Our findings suggest that Bale monkeys in fragments use an energy minimization strategy to cope with the lower availability of the species' primary food species, bamboo (Arundinaria alpina). We contend that Bale monkeys may retain some of the ancestral ecological flexibility assumed to be characteristic of the genus Chlorocebus, within which all extant species except Bale monkeys are regarded as ecological generalists. Our results suggest that, like other bamboo eating primates (e.g., the bamboo lemurs of Madagascar), Bale monkeys can cope with a certain threshold of habitat destruction. However, the long-term conservation prospects for Bale monkeys in fragments remain unclear and will require further monitoring to be properly evaluated.
American Journal of Physical Anthropology
First published: 9 February 2017
* Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, UiO.
See the publication webpage for full author information.