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PRIORITY AREAS TO REDUCE FELIDS ROAD MORTALITY IN BRAZIL

Resumo

The negative effects of roads on wildlife populations are a growing concern. However, the investments in road construction are not always accompanied by commensurate efforts to reduce those negative effects and mitigation measures are not well planned and installed. Our main goal was to identify road segments for placing mitigation measures for felids in Brazil using potential movement corridors and road-kill likelihood models. We estimated the best locations for northern tiger cat L. tigrinus, southern tiger cat L. guttulus, jaguarundi Puma yagouaroundi and puma Puma concolor throughout each species’ range within Brazil. Tiger cats were modelled together. We applied circuit theory to model potential movement corridors crossing roads. We ran habitat suitability models using species occurrence records as the response variable (82 occurrence records for tiger cats, 171 for ocelot, 106 for jaguarundi and 606 for puma obtained from Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Mamíferos Carnívoros – CENAP/ICMBio) and environmental variables as predictors (elevation, land cover, habitat connectivity, streams, protected areas, pasture and urban areas). We then used the inverse of habitat suitability to create resistance maps at 1x1km resolution. We also applied the maximum entropy principle using road-kill records as the response variable (113 records for tiger cats, 52 for ocelot, 110 for jaguarundi and 70 for puma obtained from published data available at https://github.com/LEEClab/BRAZIL_SERIES) and environmental variables (the same for habitat suitability models and included road length and road type - unpaved, 2-lane paved and 3 to 6-lane highways) to assess road mortality likelihood of road segments. Habitat suitability was best explained by the low habitat connectivity for tiger cats, proximity to urban areas for jaguarundi and proximity to protected areas for pumas and ocelots. Road mortality likelihood was higher in roads with 3 to 6 lanes for all species. We found that the best locations to implement mitigation measures for felids occur mainly in Amazonia (state of Roraima) and Atlantic Forest (states of Parana, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo). Road segments considered areas for mitigation comprised ~ 81,700 km for all felids and represent ~5% of the total Brazilian road network. The road expansion planned for the next years may worsen this scenario and there is an urgent need for implementing mitigation measures. We recommend the use of potential movement corridors and road-kill likelihood models as complementary tools to identify priority areas for mitigation.

Palavras-chave

corridors, connectivity, circuit theory, road mortality, road-kill likelihood, Maxent, road mitigation, felids, Brazil

Financiamento

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES)

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tencnológico (CNPq)

Área

Ecologia

Autores

Rafaela Cobuci Cerqueira, Paul B. Leonard, Lucas Gonçalves da Silva, Alex Bager, Jochen A. G. Jaeger, Clara Grilo