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Sharing land with giants Habitat preferences of Galapagos tortoises on farms.pdf (1.39 MB)

Sharing land with giants: Habitat preferences of Galapagos tortoises on farms

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-04-15, 23:59 authored by KN Pike, S Blake, Iain GordonIain Gordon, F Cabrera, A Nieto-Claudin, SL Deem, A Guézou, L Schwarzkopf
One of the most pressing dilemmas of our time is determining how to satisfy the demands of a growing human population while still conserving biodiversity. Worldwide, land modification to accommodate human resource needs has caused significant declines in wildlife populations. To help minimize biodiversity loss, we must support wildlife on human-dominated land, such as farms and urban areas, but our knowledge of how to do so is lacking. Agriculture is a major driver of land modification; but also has the potential to play a role in conserving biodiversity. To support critically endangered ecosystem engineers that use farms, such as giant Galapagos tortoises, we need to understand the characteristics encouraging or hindering them. To quantify tortoise habitat preferences, we assessed the relationship between tortoise density, habitat structure, and land-use type, by recording tortoise density on farms on Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, over two years. Tortoise density was lowest in abandoned farmland and highest in tourist areas and was most strongly positively correlated with abundant ground cover, short vegetation, and few shrubs. The habitat features favoured by tortoises could potentially be manipulated to help support tortoise conservation on farms. Measuring wildlife preferences in human-dominated areas is an important step towards balancing biodiversity conservation and human-enterprise.

History

Volume

37

Start Page

1

End Page

10

Number of Pages

10

eISSN

2351-9894

ISSN

2351-9894

Publisher

Elsevier

Additional Rights

CC BY-NC-ND

Language

en

Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Acceptance Date

2022-05-22

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Journal

Global Ecology and Conservation

Article Number

e02171

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