Biodiversity Conservation in the Amazon rainforest

The loss and fragmentation of natural habitats causes the local extinction of species, but corridors connecting otherwise isolated populations can minimize the negative effects of fragmentation. Theoretical models suggest that after the loss of 10-30% of habitat, sudden changes in landscape structure occur that accelerate species loss. After this threshold, the configuration of habitat in the landscape contributes to extinctions more than expected by a model based solely on loss of habitat.

This project aims to:

  1. obtain data on the richness and abundance of mid and large bodied mammals in 24 landscapes (1600 ha each) with different proportions of forest resulting from two different patterns of deforestation and
  2. assess the functional role of 25 riparian forest corridors with different morphological traits based on species that require large home ranges by non-invasive methods.

Line transect census and camera traps will be used to obtain data on the richness and abundance of mammals > 500 g. To compare the effectiveness of corridors, different widths and lengths of riparian corridors will be sampled through the use of camera traps. Faeces from ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), puma (Puma concolor) and jaguar (Panthera onca) will be collected and analyzed to permit identification of individuals. The structure and configuration of the landscape and the morphology of the corridors will be obtained through a Geographic Information System (GIS), based on Landsat images. The relationship between species richness and abundance and the proportion and configuration of habitat will be examined through analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), multiple linear regression and logistic regression models. The functionality of corridors will be tested through analysis of population signatures and multiple linear regression.

The results will provide information on the ecological consequences of habitat loss and functionality of riparian corridors with different widths and lengths. These data will assist in planning and restoration of degraded and fragmented tropical forest regions and will serve to inform conservation policies.

Operational area


Responsible team

Project coordinator:

Dr. Fernanda Michalski


Dr. Fernanda Michalski
MSc. Darren Norris
MSc. Ricardo Boulhosa

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