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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 22, 2017

Microhabitat structure and food availability modelling a small mammal assemblage in restored riparian forest remnants

Matheus R.J. Corrêa, Yuri M. Bellagamba, Adriele P. de Magalhães, Joice P.V. Martins, Antônio J. do R. Cruz, Alessandra R. Kozovitz, Maria C.T.B. Messias and Cristiano S. de Azevedo
From the journal Mammalia


Small mammal populations respond to environmental changes in secondary riparian forest remnants in different ways, depending on the influences of biotic and abiotic variables. The present study evaluated how habitat/microhabitat structure and food availability influence small mammal assemblages in restored riparian forest remnants. Pitfall traps disposed in three linear transects were used to collect small mammals during 9 months of field work. General linear models were built to test the hypothesis that microhabitat structure (litter biomass and type – leaves and branches) and food availability (richness of zoochoric tree species and arthropods) influence species richness and abundance of small mammals. Three hundred and eighty-two individuals belonging to 14 species were captured. Biomass and type of litter (leaves or branches) provided greater structural to microhabitats, allowing the coexistence of morphologically similar species. Besides, food availability influenced foraging strategies of marsupials, forcing them to use the forest floor when zoochoric plants were rare. Thus, litter structure and food availability, allowing spatial segregation of the small mammal species using the forest fragments. We concluded that the maintenance of small mammals and their ecosystem services in restored riparian forests are dependent on habitat structure and food availability, thus, litter and zoochoric plants should be conserved in riparian forest fragments, especially those reforested.


The authors would like to thank R.J.Y., M.R.P, S.T., G.M., F.R. and N.L. for invaluable suggestions on the first draft of this paper. Special thanks to CEMIG and FAPEMIG (Grant Number: CRAAPQ03055-2011) for scholarship grants, and to the Volta Grande Reservoir and the Colorado Farm for allowing the use of their lands and facilities. Special thanks to the anonymous reviewers of this paper.


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Received: 2017-03-07
Accepted: 2017-10-04
Published Online: 2017-11-22
Published in Print: 2018-07-26

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