Pileated gibbon density in relation to habitat characteristics and post-logging forest recovery

Rungnapa Phoonjampa, Andreas Koenig, Warren Y. Brockelman, Carola Borries, George A. Gale, John P. Carroll, Tommaso Savini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although it is known that forest loss and degradation negatively impact most forest-dwelling primates, such relationships are difficult to quantify because many primates are difficult to survey over large areas. Furthermore, recovery times are also difficult to assess due to a lack of long-term data. Here, we determined how forest characteristics and habitat disturbance correlate with the abundance of pileated gibbons, Hylobates pileatus. We studied a population in Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in southeastern Thailand, assessed its density using an auditory method combined with distance sampling at 24 randomly placed sample sites. In addition, we determined how simple forest structural characteristics and habitat disturbance correlate with the gibbon abundance. Average gibbon density per site was 1.02 ± 0.16 (SE) groups/km 2 (range 0-2.74). Bivariate analyses indicated that densities depended on food tree biomass, level of disturbance, evergreen forest cover, time since protection, and distance to the sanctuary boundary. Multiple regression analysis suggested evergreen forest cover and distance to boundary were the most influential factors. Because evergreen forest cover, time since protection, and habitat disturbance are correlated, these results suggest a direct dependence of gibbon densities on mature, undisturbed evergreen forest. While gibbons can persist in disturbed areas if the forest is protected, it appears that recovery to previous densities may take decades. We suggest that this is due to the slow pace of forest regeneration and/or poor recovery potential of gibbons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)619-627
Number of pages9
JournalBiotropica
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Abundance estimation
  • Auditory surveys
  • Distance sampling
  • Hylobates
  • Primate conservation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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