Abstract # 2063 Event # 10:

Scheduled for Thursday, August 17, 2006 11:30 AM-11:45 AM: Session 1 (Regency East #1) Oral Presentation


BLACK HOWLER MONKEYS (Alouatta pigra) INHABITING EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus grandis) PLANTATIONS IN TABASCO, MÉXICO: HABITAT USE AND QUESTIONS TO ANSWER

J. Serio-Silva1, G. Pozo-Montuy1,2 and Y. M. Bonilla-Sanchez1,2
1Instituto de Ecologia AC, Depto.de Biodiversidad y Ecologia Animal, Apdo. Postal 63, Xalapa, Veracruz 91070, Mexico, 2Division de Posgrado, Instituto de Ecologia AC
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     It has been suggested that Eucalyptus plantations pose a threat to the ecosystems in southeastern Mexico. However, we know that such exotic plantations are located around the world (approximately 10 million hectares) and the main resistance from ecologists to these plantations is because they could cause a reduction in biodiversity and because of the use of agrochemicals associated with harm to wildlife. Original vegetation in the state of Tabasco, Mexico has been modified over the last 30 years. One of these modifications includes more than 1000 ha of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus grandis) plantations in the municipality of Balancan. At one of these sites (200 ha), our research team carried out a survey (July-December 2005) of black howler monkeys (Alouatta pigra) that inhabit this Eucalyptus plantation. We found at least three troops of howlers (total 17 individuals) that were seen to feed several times on these trees and to use them for rest, play and locomotion activities. On the edge of this site we found high densities of Cecropia obtusifolia trees which provided another option for food and possibly diluted the alkaloids that Eucalyptus contains in their leaves. Our observations on Eucalyptus trees in this fragmented area suggest to us that A. pigra has high ecological and behavioral flexibility in using these resources. However, it is necessary to identify the long-term physiological effects on these primate troops in terms of adapting to this relatively recently modified habitat.