Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Frugivorous Hornbill Movements in Central Africa and their Implications for Rain Forest Conservation

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2014
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Chasar, Anthony
Harrigan, Ryan J.
Holbrook, Kimberly M.
Dietsch, Thomas V.
Fuller, Trevon L.
Smith, Thomas B.
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Tropical forest conservation and restoration require an understanding of the movements and habitat preferences of important seed dispersers. With forests now being altered at an unprecedented rate, avian frugivores are becoming increasingly vital for forest regeneration. Seed movement, however, is highly dependent on the behavioral characteristics of their dispersers. Here, we examined the movements, habitat preferences, and range sizes of two African frugivores: the Black-casqued (Ceratogymna atrata) and the White-thighed (Bycanistes albotibialis) Hornbill, in the lowland rain forests of southern Cameroon. Using satellite transmitters, we tracked eight hornbills for 3 yr to characterize their movements and relate them to environmental landscape features. Hornbill movements differed significantly, with B. albotibialis ranging over larger areas (mean = 20,274 ha) than C. atrata (mean = 5604 ha), and females of both species covering over 15 times the area of males. Evidence suggests that movements are irruptive during particular periods, perhaps driven by low resource availability. In addition, hornbills often returned to the same localities within a year, although movements were not characterized as migratory. Both species displayed significant differences in habitat preference, with B. albotibialis utilizing disturbed habitat more frequently than C. atrata (t = −22.04, P = 2.2 × 10−16). Major roads were found to act as barriers for C. atrata, but not for B. albotibialis. The ability of both hornbill species to move large distances suggests hornbills will play a vital role in the maintenance and regeneration of rain forests in Central Africa as forest fragmentation increases and terrestrial vertebrates decline in numbers.

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Fachgebiet (DDC)
570 Biowissenschaften, Biologie
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Bycanistes albotibialis; hornbills; rain forest; satellite tracking; seed dispersal
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ISO 690CHASAR, Anthony, Ryan J. HARRIGAN, Kimberly M. HOLBROOK, Thomas V. DIETSCH, Trevon L. FULLER, Martin WIKELSKI, Thomas B. SMITH, 2014. Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Frugivorous Hornbill Movements in Central Africa and their Implications for Rain Forest Conservation. In: Biotropica. 2014, 46(6), pp. 763-770. ISSN 0006-3606. eISSN 1744-7429. Available under: doi: 10.1111/btp.12160
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@article{Chasar2014Spati-29569,
  year={2014},
  doi={10.1111/btp.12160},
  title={Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Frugivorous Hornbill Movements in Central Africa and their Implications for Rain Forest Conservation},
  number={6},
  volume={46},
  issn={0006-3606},
  journal={Biotropica},
  pages={763--770},
  author={Chasar, Anthony and Harrigan, Ryan J. and Holbrook, Kimberly M. and Dietsch, Thomas V. and Fuller, Trevon L. and Wikelski, Martin and Smith, Thomas B.}
}
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    <dcterms:abstract xml:lang="eng">Tropical forest conservation and restoration require an understanding of the movements and habitat preferences of important seed dispersers. With forests now being altered at an unprecedented rate, avian frugivores are becoming increasingly vital for forest regeneration. Seed movement, however, is highly dependent on the behavioral characteristics of their dispersers. Here, we examined the movements, habitat preferences, and range sizes of two African frugivores: the Black-casqued (Ceratogymna atrata) and the White-thighed (Bycanistes albotibialis) Hornbill, in the lowland rain forests of southern Cameroon. Using satellite transmitters, we tracked eight hornbills for 3 yr to characterize their movements and relate them to environmental landscape features. Hornbill movements differed significantly, with B. albotibialis ranging over larger areas (mean = 20,274 ha) than C. atrata (mean = 5604 ha), and females of both species covering over 15 times the area of males. Evidence suggests that movements are irruptive during particular periods, perhaps driven by low resource availability. In addition, hornbills often returned to the same localities within a year, although movements were not characterized as migratory. Both species displayed significant differences in habitat preference, with B. albotibialis utilizing disturbed habitat more frequently than C. atrata (t = −22.04, P = 2.2 × 10−16). Major roads were found to act as barriers for C. atrata, but not for B. albotibialis. The ability of both hornbill species to move large distances suggests hornbills will play a vital role in the maintenance and regeneration of rain forests in Central Africa as forest fragmentation increases and terrestrial vertebrates decline in numbers.</dcterms:abstract>
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