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Unformatted text preview: ARTICLES Primate Conservation in the New Millennium: The Role of Scientists COLIN A. CHAPMAN AND CARLOS A. PERES In this article we use new data to review the major threats facing pri- mate populations and assess probable declines and local extinctions. Subse- quently, we outline some of the ap- proaches currently advocated for pri- mate protection (Fig. 1). Finally, we draw on our experiences in regions of the world under very different con- texts of threat to make recommenda- tions on the types of information that will be needed to construct informed management plans and discuss the role scientists can play in formulating these plans. MAJOR THREATS Habitat Modification Deforestation Ninety percent of all primate spe- cies are found in tropical regions and depend on rapidly disappearing for- ests (Fig. 2). 11 A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 12 provides the lat- est figures on worldwide forest cover, making it possible to estimate the fate of primate populations in different re- gions. For developing countries, the FAO defines deforestation as the de- pletion of tree cover in closed-canopy forests to less than 10%, a canopy thinning threshold that is almost cer- tainly incompatible with the survival of most strictly arboreal primates. For countries harboring primates, statistics from the Food and Agricul- ture Organization indicate that there are 18,910,280 km 2 of forest. Forest loss between 1980 and 1995 was 10.5% for Africa, 9.7% for Latin Amer- ica and the Caribbean, and 6.4% for Asia and Oceania. Countries with pri- mate populations are losing 125,140 km 2 of forest annually. This is an area greater than Mississippi (122,335 km 2 ) or just smaller than Greece (131,985 km 2 ). The highest losses have occurred in countries with large expanses of tropical forest; they in- cluded average annual conversions of 25,540 km 2 in Brazil, 10,840 km 2 in Indonesia, and 7,400 km 2 in the Dem- ocratic Republic of Congo (Fig. 3). If one looks at which countries are los- ing the greatest proportion of remain- For nearly three decades, the academic community has clearly recognized that many primate populations are severely threatened by human activities. 13 In 1983, Wolfheim 4 estimated that more than 50% of all primate species faced some form of threat. Over a decade later, the Primate Spet Group of the Species Survival Commission of the World Conservation Union 5 estimated that half of the worlds 250 species of primates were of serious conservation concern. In a recent review of the current status of primate communities, Wright and Jernvall 6 commented that it was an achievement for primate conservationists that we had not lost any species in the last millennium. It is ironic that the first documented extinction of a widely recognized primate taxon occurred just as we entered the new millennium....
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2011 for the course MEDIA AND 180 taught by Professor Stanley during the Spring '11 term at CUNY Hunter.
- Spring '11
- The Land