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Effects of Forest Fragmentation and Habitat Degradation on West African Leaf-Litter Frogs

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Habitat degradation alters the dynamics and composition of anuran assemblages in tropical forests. The effects of forest fragmentation on the composition of anuran assemblages are so far poorly known. We studied the joint influence of forest fragmentation and degradation on leaf-litter frogs. We specifically asked whether the processes structuring leaf-litter anuran assemblages in fragmented forests are the same as those in continuous forests. We analyzed anuran assemblages with respect to habitat characteristics, including fragmentation and degradation parameters. In comparison with continuous forests, species richness and diversity were lower and assemblage composition was altered in forest fragments. These changes seemed to be mainly caused by habitat degradation rather than forest fragmentation. Availability of aquatic sites for breeding, vegetation structure (including those variables indicating degradation), and leaf-litter cover had the most influence on the presence of single species. The comparatively small impact of fragmentation on anurans might be due to the location of the study area; it still possessed large tracts of continuous forest. These forest blocks may stabilize the regional rainforest climate and thus weaken the effects of fragmentation.
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Keywords: Parque Nacional Taï; Taï National Park; West Africa; anuros de la hojarasca; bosque tropical lluvioso; degradación de hábitat; ensambles de especies; ensambles de ranas; forest fragmentation; fragmentación de bosque; frog assemblages; habitat degradation; leaf-litter anurans; species assemblages; tropical rainforest; África Occidental

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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