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    Silvopastoral and conventional management of extensive livestock and the diversity of bats in fragments of tropical dry forest in Co´rdoba, Colombia
    (Springer Nature, 2022) Ballesteros-Correa, Jesús; Pérez-Torres, Jairo
    The establishment of extensive livestock systems in the Colombian Caribbean Region has historically generated a strong loss of the tropical dry forest (TDF) with negative effects on biodiversity. Currently, the implementation of silvopastoral systems (SPS) has been proposed with strategy to curb the loss of biodiversity caused by the conventional management system (CS). The objective was to evaluate the effect of SPS and CS of extensive livestock on the assemblage of bats associated with fragments of TDF. During a continuous year and a sampling effort of 30,240 h-net/night, the structure and composition of bat assemblage between SPS and CS were compared. 2788 bats belonging to six families, 23 genera, and 39 species were captured. The Phyllostomidae family presented the highest species richness (S = 30), with the greatest abundance in the Stenodermatinae subfamily (n = 1543). Bat assemblage in the SPS fragments was more equitable; and the relative abundance per species, per genera, and per foraging guilds was also significantly higher. The capture success showed significant variations between the climatic seasons (dry and rainy). The rate of species turnover was higher in the CS fragments. The species Artibeus planirostris, Artibeus lituratus, Carollia perspicillata, Carollia castanea, Phyllostomus discolor, Dermanura phaeotis, Uroderma convexum, Glossophaga soricina, C. brevicauda, and Sturnira lilium accounted for 92% of the captures. In conclusion, frugivorous bats were more abundant in the SPS, type of extensive livestock management that can generate greater temporal stability of bat assemblage. This research provides the first scientific evidence of the positive effect of silvopastoral management on the diversity of bats in tropical dry forest areas of the Colombian Caribbean region.
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    Free-ranging livestock and a diverse landscape structure increase bat foraging in mountainous landscapes
    (Springer Nature, 2021) Ancillotto, L.; Festa, F.; De Benedetta, F.; Cosentino, F.; Pejic, B.; Russo, D.
    Traditional farming, where livestock is seasonally managed as free ranging and the use of drugs is reduced or absent, may prove beneficial to biodiversity by fostering the occurrence of spatial heterogeneity, and increasing the availability of trophic resources to wildlife. Previous work indicates that the presence of cattle in lowlands leads to an increase in bat foraging activity, yet no study has addressed this topic in mountainous regions, where free-ranging livestock is still common. Here we explore the relationships between landscape structure, farming and bat activity in a mountainous agricultural area, hypothesizing that bat activity will increase in response to the presence of livestock and landscape structure and heterogeneity. We found that traditional cattle farming may have a role in influencing bat activity in mountainous agroecosystems, yet its effects are evident for a limited number of species. Three pipistrelle species favoured foraging in areas subjected to cattle farming by hunting more often over cattle or fresh dung than at control sites. Free-ranging cattle thus provide profitable foraging opportunities for bats in mountainous landscapes, which remarks the importance of traditional farming activities in sustaining biodiversity. Cattle might also benefit from bat foraging activity if this leads to suppression of blood-sucking pests.
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    Multi-scale mammal responses to agroforestry landscapes in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest: the conservation value of forest and traditional shade plantations
    (Springer Nature, 2020) Ferreira, Aluane Silva; Peres, Carlos A.; Dodonov, Pavel; Cassano, Camila Righetto
    The future of tropical forest biodiversity will largely depend on human-modified landscapes. We investigated how medium- to large-bodied mammals respond to factors at local (habitat type), intermediate (land use heterogeneity, forest cover and human population density) and large spatial scales (overall forest cover) in agroforestry landscapes. We surveyed mammals using camera traps in traditional cacao agroforests (cabrucas), intensified cacao agroforests, and forest remnants within two large Atlantic Forest landscapes of southern Bahia, Brazil, representing both high and low forest cover. At the local scale, habitat types differed in their potential to harbour mammal species, with forest remnants and cabrucas showing high conservation value, mainly under contexts of high forest cover, whereas intensified cacao agroforests contained less diversified species assemblages in both landscapes. At intermediate scales, species richness increased with increasing forest cover around forest remnants and intensified cacao agroforests, but the opposite was observed in cabrucas. The effects of human population density were ubiquitous but species-dependent. At the largest scale, species richness was higher in the most forested landscape, highlighting the imperative of maintaining forest remnants to retain forest-dwelling mammals in human-dominated landscapes. We claim that mammal conservation strategies require a multi-scale approach and that no single strategy is likely to maximize persistence of all species. Some species can routinely use traditional agroforests, and a large fraction of mammal diversity can be maintained even if high canopy-cover agroforestry dominates the landscape. Nevertheless, forest patches and highly forested landscapes are essential to ensure the persistence of forest-dwelling and game species.
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    Biomass contribution and nutrient recycling of organic matter management practices in tropical smallholder annual farming systems
    (Taylor & Francis Group - Informa UK Limited, 2022-10-20) Ekyaligonza, Deous Mary; Kahigwa, Thaddeo Tibasiima; Dietrich, Phillipp; Akoraebirungi, Benedicto; Kagorora, John Patrick; Friedel, Jürgen Kurt; Melcher, Andreas; Freyer, Bernhard
    Integrating a combination of organic matter management (OMM) practices can increase soil fertility, biomass, and nutrient recycling, but evidence of this potential is limited. This study tested the impact of integrating a combination of OMM practices on soil fertility, biomass, and nutrient recycling on smallholder farms. Following a randomised complete block design, a four-season experiment was conducted in 2018-2019 on 10 farms. The treatments (T) included T1: cowpea-maize-bean-maize rotation; T2: cowpea-maize-bean-maize rotation + farmyard manure; T3: Faidherbia albida alleys + cowpea-maize-bean-maize rotation; T4: F. albida alleys + cowpea-maize-bean-maize rotation + farmyard manure; and T5 (control): maize monocrop with diammonium phosphate application at 50 kg/ha application rate. T1-T4 are the OMM practices. The maize in T2-T4 was undersown with Mucuna pruriens. Soil fertility parameters (i.e. pH, water holding capacity, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), biomass, and nutrients in the biomass were determined. There were no differences in soil fertility parameters among all treatments (P > 0.05). From the second to the fourth season, biomass was consistently higher under T3 and T4 than in other treatments. Moreover, the nutrients in biomass were higher in T3 and T4 than in other treatments, an indicator that OMM practices with alley crops can increase nutrient recycling.