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Habitat, distribution and status of the Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi in Mexico

  • Melanie Heath (a1) and Adrian Long (a1)

Summary

The Azure-rumped Tanager Tangara cabanisi is a threatened species confined to the mountains of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas in Mexico and neighbouring Guatemala. It occurs on the Pacific and Gulf slopes of the mountain range, but most frequently on the former between 1,000 and 1,700 m. The Azure-rumped Tanager's habitat is a medium height (about 30 m tall) humid evergreen broadleaf forest formation containing elements of both mesophilous forest of higher altitudes and tropical forests of the lowlands. Information from field surveys and more general data from vegetation maps was combined using a geographical information system package to extrapolate and predict distribution of potential Azure-rumped Tanager habitat in the Sierra Madre de Chiapas. It is estimated that a maximum of 112,000 ha remain, although the total was probably never greater than 200,000 ha. Fortunately 43,660 ha (39%) of the maximum total is contained within the El Triunfo Biosphere Reserve, a newly decreed protected area that spans both the Pacific and Gulf slopes in the central portion of the mountain range. Most of the suitable habitat is found within the reserve's buffer zone, an area in which there are several small but expanding communities. The effective protection and future status of the species rests heavily on the conservation of this habitat within the reserve and essentially this depends on the collaboration in favour of conservation between the local people and the conservation managers and, ultimately, the development of viable land-use alternatives that are less damaging to the forest ecosystem.

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References

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