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Range collapse of a tropical cervid (Cervus eldi) and the extent of remaining habitat in central Myanmar

  • William J. McShea (a1), Peter Leimgruber (a1), Myint Aung (a2), Steven L. Monfort (a1) and Christen Wemmer (a1)...

Abstract

The thamin (Cervus eldi) is an endangered species of deer whose present range is greatly reduced from its original distribution covering the deciduous forests throughout south-east Asia. We mapped the present distribution of thamin using ground surveys and tied this information to habitat types derived from satellite images in order to detect patterns that might indicate the landscape features which precipitated the decline. We conducted a survey of 24 out of 28 Myanmar townships that were reported to contain thamin in 1992, and evidence of thamin were found in 23 of these townships, predominately in mixed deciduous forests where dipterocarp trees were present. There was no significant correlation between the number of thamin detected and forest remaining in the township, or the size of the human or livestock population. A landcover classification of Landsat Thematic Mapper images indicated 58% of the study area contained deciduous forest, of which 12% was dipterocarp forest. Forest tracts containing thamin were digitized and landscape analyses were conducted on a resampled habitat map that emphasized dry and dipterocarp deciduous forest. Of six landscape variables measured only core area size was a significant predictor for the presence of thamin. None of the unsurveyed indaing forest tracts possessed a core area large enough to support thamin. The pattern of thamin decline matches predictions that peripheral, rather than central, populations are more likely to persist in declining species.

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Corresponding author

William J. McShea. Tel: 540-635-6563; Fax: 540-635-6506; E-mail: wmcshea@crc.si.edu.

Range collapse of a tropical cervid (Cervus eldi) and the extent of remaining habitat in central Myanmar

  • William J. McShea (a1), Peter Leimgruber (a1), Myint Aung (a2), Steven L. Monfort (a1) and Christen Wemmer (a1)...

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