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Increasing land-use intensity reverses the relative occupancy of two quadrupedal scavengers

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Title: Increasing land-use intensity reverses the relative occupancy of two quadrupedal scavengers
Authors: Twining, JP
Bernard, H
Ewers, RM
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Human land use is continuously altering the natural environment, yet the greater ecological implications of this change for many groups that are key to healthy ecosystem functioning remains uncharacterised in the tropics. Terrestrial scavenging vertebrates are one such group, providing integral ecosystem services through the removal of carrion which is a crucial component of both nutrient cycling and disease dynamics. To explore how anthropogenic processes may affect forest scavengers, we investigated the changes in the relative occupancy of two important terrestrial scavengers along a gradient of land use intensity, ranging from protected forest to oil palm plantation in Borneo. We found the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) had highest, albeit variable, occupancy in areas of low land use intensity and the Southeast Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator macromaculatus) had highest occupancy in areas of high land use intensity. Land use had no effect on the combined occupancy of the two species. In high land use intensity sites, individual water monitors were larger and had better body condition, but at population level had a highly biased sex ratio with more males than females and increased signs of intraspecific conflict. We did not assess scavenging rate or efficiency as a process, but the high occupancy rates and apparent health of the scavengers in high land use intensity landscapes suggests this ecological process is robust to land use change.
Issue Date: 11-May-2017
Date of Acceptance: 21-Apr-2017
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/48954
DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0177143
ISSN: 1932-6203
Publisher: PUBLIC LIBRARY OF SCIENCE
Journal / Book Title: PLOS ONE
Volume: 12
Issue: 5
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Twining et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Sponsor/Funder: Rainforest Research Sdn Bhd
Funder's Grant Number: LBEE_P34395
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
WATER MONITOR LIZARDS
FOREST FRAGMENTATION
VARANUS-SALVATOR
CONSERVATION
COMMUNITY
OIL
MESOPREDATORS
POPULATIONS
LANDSCAPE
INDONESIA
General Science & Technology
MD Multidisciplinary
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN e0177143
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Natural Sciences