Increasing land-use intensity reverses the relative occupancy of two quadrupedal scavengers

Joshua P. Twining, Henry Bernard, Robert M. Ewers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)
183 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Human land use is continuously altering the natural environment, yet the greater ecological implications of this change for many groups that are key to healthy ecosystem functioning remains uncharacterised in the tropics. Terrestrial scavenging vertebrates are one such group, providing integral ecosystem services through the removal of carrion which is a crucial component of both nutrient cycling and disease dynamics. To explore how anthropogenic processes may affect forest scavengers, we investigated the changes in the relative occupancy of two important terrestrial scavengers along a gradient of land use intensity, ranging from protected forest to oil palm plantation in Borneo. We found the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga) had highest, albeit variable, occupancy in areas of low land use intensity and the Southeast Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator macromaculatus) had highest occupancy in areas of high land use intensity. Land use had no effect on the combined occupancy of the two species. In high land use intensity sites, individual water monitors were larger and had better body condition, but at population level had a highly biased sex ratio with more males than females and increased signs of intraspecific conflict. We did not assess scavenging rate or efficiency as a process, but the high occupancy rates and apparent health of the scavengers in high land use intensity landscapes suggests this ecological process is robust to land use change.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0177143
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Increasing land-use intensity reverses the relative occupancy of two quadrupedal scavengers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Student Theses

    The ecology of a recovering native predator: The European pine marten (Martes martes)

    Author: Twining, J., Dec 2020

    Supervisor: Marks, N. (Supervisor), Scantlebury, D. (Supervisor) & Montgomery, W. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

    Cite this