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versión On-line ISSN 2007-3364


PAINTER, Elizabeth Jean et al. Land use change and its implications for biodiversity and jaguar conservation. Therya [online]. 2022, vol.13, n.3, pp.277-286.  Epub 21-Nov-2022. ISSN 2007-3364.

Protected areas are frequently established to prevent declines in biodiversity, but their effectiveness in preserving biodiversity can depend on how land outside their borders is managed. We evaluated how land use changes from 1989 to 2016 in the Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra del Abra Tanchipa (RBSAT) landscape might affect the role of the RBSAT for conservation of biodiversity, with an emphasis on conservation of jaguars, a keystone species. We estimated the rate of land use change within and surrounding the RBSAT, a 215 km2 natural reserve in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, from 1989 to 2016 using supervised classifications of satellite imagery. We also analyzed the distribution of two GPS collared male jaguars. The RBSAT and surrounding landscape became increasingly fragmented and impacted by human use over the previous ca. 30 years. The largest increases were seen in infrastructure and intensive agriculture, while the largest decreases were seen in pasture, tropical deciduous forest, and secondary vegetation. Jaguars were located more frequently than expected in secondary vegetation, the most common cover class, which decreased from 34.8 % of the landscape to 32.1 % by 2016. Only 23 % of jaguar locations fell within the boundaries of the RBSAT, due to increases in preferred habitat attributes of jaguars and prey outside the Reserve. Increasing fragmentation compromises the RBSAT’s role as a biodiversity reserve, especially for interior-dependent species. Fragmentation and edge habitats in combination with increasing agriculture enhance suitability of the landscape surrounding the RBSAT for prey of jaguar, and only 23 % of jaguar locations were within the RBSAT itself. This increases the likelihood of jaguar-related conflicts in surrounding communities. Regional landscape planning should include policies that incentivize practices that maintain remaining larger habitat patches and minimize the likelihood of human-wildlife conflicts.

Palabras llave : Land classification; land use change; natural reserve; México; Panthera onca.

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