An Amazonian savanna in northern Brazil known as the Cerrado of Amapá is under imminent threat from poor land-use planning, the expansion of large-scale agriculture and other anthropogenic pressures. These savannas house a rich and unique flora and fauna, including endemic plants and animals. However, the area remains under-sampled for most taxa, and better sampling may uncover new species. We estimate that only ~9.16% of these habitats have any kind of protection, and legislative changes threaten to further weaken or remove this protection. Here we present the status of knowledge concerning the biodiversity of the Cerrado of Amapá, its conservation status, and the main threats to the conservation of this Amazonian savanna. To secure the future of these unique and imperilled habitats, we suggest urgent expansion of protected areas, as well as measures that would promote less-damaging land uses to support the local population.
Xenarthrans—anteaters, sloths, and armadillos—have essential functions for ecosystem maintenance, such as insect control and nutrient cycling, playing key roles as ecosystem engineers. Because of habitat loss and fragmentation, hunting pressure, and conflicts with domestic dogs, these species have been threatened locally, regionally, or even across their full distribution ranges. The Neotropics harbor 21 species of armadillos, 10 anteaters, and 6 sloths. Our data set includes the families Chlamyphoridae (13), Dasypodidae (7), Myrmecophagidae (3), Bradypodidae (4), and Megalonychidae (2). We have no occurrence data on Dasypus pilosus (Dasypodidae). Regarding Cyclopedidae, until recently, only one species was recognized, but new genetic studies have revealed that the group is represented by seven species. In this data paper, we compiled a total of 42,528 records of 31 species, represented by occurrence and quantitative data, totaling 24,847 unique georeferenced records. The geographic range is from the southern United States, Mexico, and Caribbean countries at the northern portion of the Neotropics, to the austral distribution in Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay. Regarding anteaters, Myrmecophaga tridactyla has the most records (n = 5,941), and Cyclopes sp. have the fewest (n = 240). The armadillo species with the most data is Dasypus novemcinctus (n = 11,588), and the fewest data are recorded for Calyptophractus retusus (n = 33). With regard to sloth species, Bradypus variegatus has the most records (n = 962), and Bradypus pygmaeus has the fewest (n = 12). Our main objective with Neotropical Xenarthrans is to make occurrence and quantitative data available to facilitate more ecological research, particularly if we integrate the xenarthran data with other data sets of Neotropical Series that will become available very soon (i.e., Neotropical Carnivores, Neotropical Invasive Mammals, and Neotropical Hunters and Dogs). Therefore, studies on trophic cascades, hunting pressure, habitat loss, fragmentation effects, species invasion, and climate change effects will be possible with the Neotropical Xenarthrans data set. Please cite this data paper when using its data in publications. We also request that researchers and teachers inform us of how they are using these data.
Although Amapá is the most protected Brazilian state, the same level of protection does not extend to its savannas. These are currently suffering increased pressure from threats including large-scale agriculture, particularly the expansion of soybean plantations. In September 2016, the Government of Amapá presented a zoning proposal (Zoneamento Socioambiental do Cerrado [ZSC]) that reserves most of the savannas for agricultural activities. Here, we outline how the methodology employed is flawed because it does not include fauna surveys, evaluations of ecosystem services or an assessment of the social importance of the savannas. The ZSC authors admit that, contrary to Brazilian legislation, the zoning was carried out with the single intention of increasing agriculture production. Current knowledge indicates that Amapá's savannas are rich in biodiversity, including endemic and threatened species, and are also home to a rich culture of traditional populations. These savannas are important providers of ecosystem services that, if intact, could represent around US$ 1.52 billion annually. We hold that the ZSC should be reformulated, with fair participation of stakeholders, in accordance with Brazil's legal requirements. At least 30% of the savannas should be protected, local family farming should be supported, and the rights of traditional peoples must now be assured through recognition of their land rights.
Aim:This study aims to contribute to the identification of ecological determinants of tropical moist forest montane biodiversity, analysing changes in the structure of bat assemblages along an elevational gradient and testing the role of species traits shaping those assemblages.Location: Mountain ranges in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest.
Methods:We compiled a dataset with the composition of phyllostomid bat assemblages at 32 forested sites, ranging from 60 m to 1,960 m a.s.l. We quantified how abundance and diversity changed along this elevational gradient, and assessed the capacity of each species to be present and abundant at each elevation, identifying traits that may influence that capacity.Results: Abundance and species diversity declined markedly with increasing elevation. Tolerance to low temperatures, low habitat specialization and cave roosting facilitated success at higher elevations. Owing to trait filtering, and to changes in resource availability with elevation, assemblages were progressively dominated by a smaller number of mostly generalist species as elevation increased. Higher elevations harbour only a subset of the species that are present in the lowland forest, with no mountain specialized species.
Main conclusions:High mountains harbour phyllostomid assemblages that are impoverished subsets of those at lower elevations. Phyllostomids have a tropical origin and may thus have a low potential to adapt to montane forest environments, which possibly explains the observed climatic trait filtering. Habitat filtering is also important, keeping forest specialists mostly at lowest elevations. Protected areas in the Atlantic Forest are mostly limited to mountains. While these areas are clearly important to protect biodiversity, including phyllostomid assemblages, it is now critical to protect and restore the few remnants of lower elevation Atlantic Forest where higher productivity and resource levels, increased complexity of vertical structure, and fewer climatic constraints favour the success of a wider range of phyllostomid bat species of tropical origin.
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