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Nest-predation at the edge: an experimental study contrasting two types of edges in the dry Chaco, Paraguay

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Forest fragmentation leads to the creation of isolated forest patches with subsequent impact on forest-interior flora and fauna. Forested corridors have been suggested to alleviate some of the impact by increasing the connectivity between remnant forest patches. However, both fragmentation and corridors increase the ratio of edge to core habitat. We studied nest predation of artificial nests at edges between 1) contiguous forests and pastures and 2) forested corridors and pastures, in a forest-dominated landscape in the dry Chaco, Paraguay. The aim was to determine if nest predation was higher near habitat edges compared to within forests and pastures, with special emphasis on edges at forested corridors. We found that predation rates were similar at edges and in interior habitats. Nest predation was higher for both ground and shrub nests in forested areas than in pastures. Predation rates were also higher for both ground and shrub nests at edges along forested corridors compared to edges neighbouring contiguous forests. Forested corridors connecting contiguous forests may thus act as an ecological sink for some species breeding here. Analysis of predator categories revealed that ground nests in pastures were relatively more depredated by mammals and less by birds, compared to both shrub nests in pastures and ground nests in forests.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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