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Therya

versión On-line ISSN 2007-3364

Resumen

CARRILLO REYNA, Natalia Lucia; WEISSENBERGER, Holger  y  REYNA-HURTADO, Rafael. Potential distribution of the Central American tapir in the Yucatán peninsula. Therya [online]. 2015, vol.6, n.3, pp.575-596. ISSN 2007-3364.  http://dx.doi.org/10.12933/therya-15-293.

INTRODUCTION:

The habitat is used differentially by different species, depending on their feeding and breeding habits, space requirements and tolerance to areas with lower quality conditions. The way we understand the requirements for each species and individual will be different according to the spatial scale of habitat being studied, therefore habitat selection must be analyzed at different spatial scales. In a wide scale (biogeographic) the establishments of a species are mainly influenced by types of climte, vegetation and altitude. At a local scale (i. e. in a 10 km2 patch) the variables that influence the presence of the species could be food availability, predation risk and competition. Knowing the spatial distribution of an organism at regional and biogeographic scales and the factors that influence them, will allow to propose conservation areas targeted for a species or population, since its geographic variation allows us to identify areas with higher value for ecological conservation. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential distribution of Baird's tapir (Tapirus bairdii) in the Yucatan peninsula, México and determine the climatic variables that influence such distribution.

METHODS:

We performed a species distribution modeling approach using a Maximum Entropy analysis (Maxent; Phillips et al. 2006) that use environmental variables to predict the potential distribution of an organism in a given geographic area given presence records. To obtain the tapir occurrence records a search was performed on academic and governmental information sources (Appendix I). Only data obtained in the Yucatan peninsula over the past 10 years were selected. For the model generation we used the bio-climatic variables obtained from WorldClim, which provides global climate layers with information derived from monthly values of temperature and precipitation.

RESULTS:

According to the influence of climate variables, the tapirs in the Yucatan peninsula occur in places with high rainfall and when the temperatures are not high (Figure 3). The answer to these variables confirms the need for this mammal to inhabit areas where sufficient water is ensured for his maintenance. Additionally, potential distribution areas were identified where studies are required to confirm the presence of the species and the possibility to integrate them into conservation plans.

DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS:

The potential distribution model suggests areas where tapirs can be distributed but there are no presence records and where records are only for sightings, as is the central part of the state of Campeche, close to forests of the Biosphere Reserve of Sian Ka'an, and the coastal strip Majahual-Xcalak and around Lake Bacalar in the state of Quintana Roo. Studies on these sites are recommended to check for the presences of tapirs. The potential distribution model is a useful tool to propose conservation and management plans in areas that do not have any protection, and to know the climate variables suitable for the distribution of the species that may be applicable at the time of proposing biological corridors. It is also important to be aware of change in land use in areas where yet the tapir is distributed to carry out management plans and conservation of these areas.

Palabras llave : connectivity; land change use; natural protected area; potential distribution.

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