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The state of lemur conservation in south-eastern Madagascar: population and habitat assessments for diurnal and cathemeral lemurs using surveys, satellite imagery and GIS


Mitchell T. Irwin a1c1, Steig E. Johnson a2 and Patricia C. Wright a3
a1 Department of Anthropology, SBS Building, 5th Floor, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA
a2 Department of Anthropology, 2500 University Drive NW, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
a3 Department of Anthropology and Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA

Article author query
irwin mt   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
johnson se   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
wright pc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

Abstract

The unique primates of south-eastern Madagascar face threats from growing human populations. The country's extant primates already represent only a subset of the taxonomic and ecological diversity existing a few thousand years ago. To prevent further losses remaining taxa must be subjected to effective monitoring programmes that directly inform conservation efforts. We offer a necessary first step: revision of geographic ranges and quantification of habitat area and population size for diurnal and cathemeral (active during both day and night) lemurs. Recent satellite images are used to develop a forest cover geographical information system, and censuses are used to establish range boundaries and develop estimates of population density and size. These assessments are used to identify regions and taxa at risk, and will be a useful baseline for future monitoring of habitat and populations. Precise estimates are impossible for patchily-distributed taxa (especially Hapalemur aureus, H. simus and Varecia variegata variegata); these taxa require more sophisticated modelling.

(Received February 22 2004)
(Revised June 9 2004)
(Accepted November 2 2004)


Key Words: Conservation status; geographic range; GIS; lemurs; Madagascar; population densities; primates.

Correspondence:
c1 Correspondence: Department of Anthropology, SBS Building, 5th Floor, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364, USA. E-mailmirwin@ic.sunysb.edu


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