Number of many species of animals living in the forests of Brazil, has dwindled as a result of large-scale felling of trees, hunting and other forms of human activity in these areas, environmentalists say in an article in the journal PLoS One.
"You can assume that the fragments of tropical forests with relatively preserved forest cover have the resources to maintain a high level of biological diversity. Our study shows that in fact it happens very rarely, and animals in the tropics is preserved only when in the woods hunting is forbidden" — said the head of the group, Carlos Perez (Carlos Peres) from the University of East Anglia in Norvik (UK).
Perez and his colleagues observed the condition of the so-called Atlantic forest in eastern Brazil — one of the largest arrays of tropical vegetation, engaged in cutting. His initial area of 1.2 million square kilometers, but this figure has remained intact only 92,000 of them, only 8% of the total area.
The authors examined the state of 196 relatively intact forest fragments extending over an area 252,000 square kilometers, analyzing the species composition and abundance of native animals. Obtaining data on the state of the fauna in the Atlantic forest, the researchers compared them with information on human activity in the vicinity of forests.
It turned out that hunting and other forms of human activity have led to disastrous consequences — on average, in forests survived only four of the 18 species of large and medium melkopitayuschih that lived there before cutting. According to the researchers, from the Brazilian forests disappeared Whitebeard bakers, and the populations of jaguars, tapirs, spider monkeys and giant anteaters declined to critical dimensions.
On the other hand, forest areas, protected from encroachment of hunters and other forms of human activity, in general, maintained their biodiversity.
"We found that the protected forest areas contain the most species-rich. Therefore, we recommend the establishment of several strictly protected areas such as national parks and biorezervy incorporating those parts of the forest, in the territory inhabited by rare and endemic species that are threatened by imminent extinction, "- said another member Gustavo Channel (Gustavo Canale) of the University of Mato Grosso in Kaseris (Brazil).
Environmentalists believed that these measures are not implemented, then the world will lose many unique species of tropical animals found in other regions of South America and on other continents.
"The population of Brazil is growing explosively pace and very few parts of the forest is expanding the" ring "of human activity. Therefore necessary to make a real protection for those areas that are" protected "only on paper. Tropical animals future depends on it," — concludes Perez.