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Space-use patterns of Malay civets (Viverra tangalunga) persisting within a landscape fragmented by oil palm plantations

Evans, Meaghan N., Muller, Carsten T., Kille, Peter, Asner, Gregory P., Guerrero-Sanchez, Sergio, Abu Bakar, Mohd Soffian and Goossens, Benoit 2021. Space-use patterns of Malay civets (Viverra tangalunga) persisting within a landscape fragmented by oil palm plantations. Landscape Ecology 36 , pp. 915-930. 10.1007/s10980-020-01187-2

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Abstract

Context Agricultural land use is expanding and is a major driver of the biodiversity crisis. Land use planning initiatives seeking to optimize wildlife conservation are hindered by a lack of baseline data quantifying species’ tolerance to human-modified landscapes. Objectives We explored the influence of landscape characteristics on the fine-scale space-use patterns of a model generalist carnivore, the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), within degraded tropical forests and oil palm plantations. Methods We collected over 20,000 GPS locations from 21 male civets in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo to evaluate the species’ space-use patterns and habitat utilization processes. We used movement-based modeling to determine home ranges, and combined the results with high-resolution remotely sensed habitat characteristics. We developed resource utilization functions to determine individual and population-level functional responses to proximity to plantation edge, distance to water, terrain ruggedness, forest structure, and functional diversity. Results Civets foraged within oil palm plantations, yet all animals utilized forests. Home ranges scaled with proportion of plantation within both total and core ranges. Resource utilization functions reported individualism in the species’ responses to habitat characteristics. At the population-scale, civets consistently and more intensely used habitats closer to plantation edges and taller tree canopies. Conclusions Although plantations did not pose an inhospitable matrix, oil palm agriculture is a less suitable habitat than remnant forests for civets. Proximity measures and forest structure influenced the spatial behaviors of this adaptable generalist, highlighting the importance of protected areas. We recommend land-sparing and -sharing approaches to facilitate carnivore persistence across oil palm degraded landscapes.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Sustainable Places Research Institute (PLACES)
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0921-2973
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 24 December 2020
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2021 10:47
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/137326

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