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Influence of forest structure and composition on population density of the red slender loris Loris tardigradus tardigradus in Masmullah proposed forest reserve, Sri Lanka
11. Oxford Brookes University, School of Social Science and Law, Oxford Brookes University, Nocturnal Primate Research Group, Oxford OX3 0BP (United Kingdom)
32. University of Ruhuna, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture Mapalana, Kamburupitiya (Sri Lanka)
Citation Information: Mammalia mamm. Volume 69, Issue 2, Pages 201–210, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: 10.1515/mamm.2005.017, July 2007
- Published Online:
Few studies address the influence of habitat disturbance on Sri Lanka's fauna, including the endemic red slender loris Loris tardigradus tardigradus. Masmullah Proposed Forest Reserve harbours one of few remaining red slender loris populations, and is considered a "biodiversity hotspot". Using plotless sampling, we sampled 387 trees to ascertain density, and to record traits influential to loris presence. The most common tree species was Humboldtia laurifolia, occurring at 676 trees/ha, with overall density at 1077 trees/ha. Twenty-seven families belonging to 40 species were recorded, of which 45% were endemic, 40% native, 7.5% introduced. Humboldtia laurifolia has a mutualistic relationship with ants, providing abundant food for lorises. Substrates available at 3.5 m (height preferred by lorises), were small (less than 5 cm2), the size preferred by lorises. Vines and branches provided continuous passage, and trees held a number of potential sleeping sites. The characteristics of the forest are ideal for lorises, but the abundance of this habitat as measured by basal area is small, typical of severe degradation associated with chronic human disturbance. Continued illegal deforestation will impact severely already fragmented loris populations.
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