One of the features shared by tropical forests is the high number of species they harbor. However, the exploitation and conversion of these forests together with the abandonment of part of these altered areas is leading to an increase in the proportion of secondary forests among tropical forest remnants. Even so, information on faunal recovery during regeneration or on the value of young forests for the conservation of the biodiversity found in mature, well-preserved tropical forest is scarce. Non-volant small mammals play an important role in the dynamics and regeneration of neotropical forests, both as seed predators and dispersers of seeds and micorizal fungi. Although the effects of forest regeneration on this animal assemblage are poorly known, studies have shown that small mammals are affected by changes in forest structure and resource availability, factors that are altered during tropical forest regeneration. Arboreal species should respond differently to these alterations in comparison to terrestrial species, since they differ in locomotor and foraging behavior, using space and resource in a distinct manner. In this project, from standardized sampling in 28 sites distributed in forests in three different sucessional stages in the Reserva Florestal do Morro Grande, Cotia, SP, we aim to investigate (1) how forest regeneration influences the occurrence, abundance and richness of arboreal small mammals, and (2) which factors associated with forest structure (foliage vertical stratification and vegetation connection) and availability of food resources (arthropods and fruits available in the understory) are related to the recovery of the arboreal small mammal fauna during forest regeneration. The influence of the regeneration stages, forest structure and food availability on the arboreal small mammal assemblage will be analyzed through the comparison of regression models using the Akaike Information Criterion. This project is part of the Projeto Jovem Pesquisador "(FAPESP 05/56555-4) "Diversidade de mamíferos em Paisagens Fragmentadas no Planalto Atlântico de São Paulo" and will complement the information generated by another master project (Bruno Trevizan Pinotti, processo FAPESP 06/58348-9) that focused on the effects of forest regeneration on terrestrial small mammals in the same study sites.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: