Abstract # 4:

Scheduled for Thursday, July 31, 2003 08:30 AM-09:30 AM: (Science Theatres 148) Keynote Address


RESTORING MONKEYS TO TROPICAL HABITATS: LESSONS FROM A COSTA RICAN DRY FOREST

L. M. Fedigan
University of Calgary, Department of Anthropology, Social Sciences Bldg. 830, Calgary, ALB T2N 1N4, Canada
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     The accelerating pace at which tropical forests are being felled threatens the extinction of many species, and much research is focused on documenting the decline of primate populations forced to live in ever-diminishing forest fragments. Although some formerly disturbed habitats are now protected, only a small literature exists on how and when mammal populations return to regenerating forests. Since 1983 we have monitored the population dynamics of Alouatta palliata and Cebus capucinus in Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. This park was established in 1971 on reclaimed ranchlands and expanded into the Área de Conservación Guanacaste in 1989, at which time poachers, anthropogenic fires, and cattle were gradually eliminated from the area and tropical dry forest allowed to regenerate. We found that both howler and capuchin populations increased substantially in size during our twenty year study, but the howler population grew faster. They also grew differently, the howlers expanding mainly via the establishment of new groups and the capuchins through increasing the size of existing groups. I will examine the ecological, social and life history variables (e.g., hunting, dispersal patterns, pace of reproduction) that appear to differentially affect the vulnerability of these two species as well as their capacity to recover. Santa Rosa is a restoration "good news" story and I will briefly describe the historical, cultural and political reasons for its success.