16. Pecaris – Temas
Alexine Keuroghlian, Donald P. Eaton, Arnaud Desbiez
Potential extinction of peccaries in tropical forest fragments: a comparison of fruits and frugivory in two ecosystems
Local extinctions of white-lipped peccary, due to habitat fragmentation and hunting, have been reported throughout its vast geographical range. Recent studies have shown that their role as fruit predators and dispersers affects the biodiversity of certain forest habitats. Fruits may be reduced in habitat fragments, so documenting fruit availability and use is critical to peccary conservation efforts and forest biodiversity. We compared fruit census data gathered in two different Brazilian ecosystems, i.e. the highly fragmented Atlantic Forest and the natural forest mosaics of the Pantanal wetlands. In addition to providing baseline information about the fruits and frugivores of the ecosystems, we gained insights about diet, habitat preferences, and the vulnerability of peccaries to habitat fragmentation. Fruit availability, diversity, and peccary frugivory during dry and wet seasons differed between the Atlantic Forest and the Pantanal. Hill’s diversity indices indicated that the Pantanal had a greater diversty of fruits. However, overall fruit abundance was lower in the Pantanal. Seasonal differences in fruit abundance were greater in the Pantanal compared to the Atlantic Forest. In the Atlantic Forest, the top 5 fruits consumed by white-lipped peccaries (on foraging trails) represented over 70% of their diet in both the dry and wet seasons. The top 10 fruits consumed made up more than 90% of their diet. In the Pantanal, white-lipped peccaries consumed a much greater diversity of fruits (especially in the wet season), their diets showed greater seasonal variation, and their dependence on dominant fruit species was less pronounced. Extreme fruit scarcity periods and a more open landscape portend even more serious consequences for Pantanal peccary populations if ongoing deforestation and habitat fragmentation of the region continue.