Open Advanced Search
Get 20M+ Full-Text Papers For Less Than $1.50/day.
Start a 14-Day Trial for You or Your Team.
Learn More →
Impacts of habitats and seasons on mammalian diversity and distribution in the Faragosa-Fura landscape, Gamo Zone, Southern Ethiopia
Impacts of habitats and seasons on mammalian diversity and distribution in the Faragosa-Fura...
Gebo, Berhanu; Takele, Serekebirhan; Shibru, Simon
GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES INWASCON https://doi.org/10.1080/24749508.2021.1944798 RESEARCH ARTICLE Impacts of habitats and seasons on mammalian diversity and distribution in the Faragosa-Fura landscape, Gamo Zone, Southern Ethiopia Berhanu Gebo , Serekebirhan Takele and Simon Shibru Department of Biology, College of Natural and Computational Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia ABSTRACT ARTICLE HISTORY Received 19 April 2021 In Ethiopia, most of the studies on mammals have focused on single species and protected Accepted 15 June 2021 areas. This survey investigated the impacts of habitats and seasons on the medium and large- sized mammalsâ€ diversity and distribution in a human-dominated landscape. This survey KEYWORDS was conducted using 36 systematically distributed transect lines within stratified habitat types. ™ Diversity; mammalsâ€ ; A total of 685 records belonging to 21 species, six orders, and 13 families were identified, distribution; relative including globally vulnerable Panthera leo, Panthera pardus, and Hippopotamus amphibious. abundance; species richness Overall, Papio anubis and Chlorocebus aethiops were the dominant species recorded in the area. Except for three species, all species encountered in the three habitats are subsets of the species recorded in the grassland. The species record frequency was highest in the forest. The dry season characterized by a higher frequency of records but by lower species richness than the wet season. In general, the study area is potential for mammalian species conservation in Ethiopia. Introduction Worldwide Class Mammalia is composed of 5487 species. Of these, more than 1150, 360, 320 different Mammalian species act as umbrella species of terres- mammalian species are found in Africa (Newbold et al., trial ecosystems since they contribute to the conserva- 2015), eastern Africa (Diriba et al., 2020; Girma et al., tion endeavors of other species (Bene et al., 2013; Udy 2012) and Ethiopia (Amare, 2015; Lavrenchenko & et al., 2021) and they keep up ecosystem balance. Bekele, 2017; Tefera, 2011; Yalden et al., 1986), respec- Medium and large-sized mammalian species play key tively. Among the recognized 320 mammalian species roles throughout many of the world’s ecosystems, of Ethiopia, 55 are endemic and distributed in 14 orders including grazing, predation and seed dispersal and 39 families (Lavrenchenko & Bekele, 2017; Rabira (Gebresenbet et al., 2018; IUCN, 2021; Reeder et al., et al., 2015). Furthermore, Ethiopia is one of the top 25 2019). Moreover, they provide important human ben- biodiversity-rich countries in the world and hosts two efits such as food, recreation, and income (Penjor of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots. More than 60% et al., 2021; Wolf & Ripple, 2018). Conversely, mam- of the mammalian species are medium and large-sized malian species have been in an extinction crisis glob- (Negeri et al., 2015). Topographic diversity and climate ally and locally due to anthropogenic activities (Ripple are the most significant predictors of mammalian spe- et al., 2014; Worku & Girma, 2020). Habitat loss and cies diversity in the country (Amare, 2015; Bakala & degradation and harvesting (hunting/gathering for Mekonen, 2020; Belete & Melese, 2016; Tefera, 2011). food, medicine, fuel, and materials) are by far the However, the wildlife population has diminished both main threats to mammalian species (Bakala & in abundance and distribution through the loss of habi- Mekonen, 2020; Kasso & Bekele, 2017; Mekonen, tat, hunting, and land clearance for farming; land 2020; Qufa & Bekele, 2019; Wale, 2017). degradation due to overgrazing (Gebresenbet et al., In addition, habitat and seasonal heterogeneity can 2018; Girma & Worku, 2020; Lemma & Tekalign, decide the population patterns of wildlife, either 2020; Worku & Girma, 2020). To reverse the situation, a population decrease or increase. Hence, quantifying research-based action is in need. their diversity and distribution across habitats and In Ethiopia, most of the studies on mammalian seasons is pivotal for developing conservation strate- species were confined to protected areas (Fetene gies to avoid extermination and to secure the richness et al., 2019; Wale, 2017) but the diversity and distribu- of mammalian biodiversity (Girma & Worku, 2020; tion status of mammalian species outside protected Kasso & Bekele, 2017; Udy et al., 2021), like the area areas such as human-dominated landscape are poorly for the present study. CONTACT Berhanu Gebo firstname.lastname@example.org Department of Biology, Biodiversity Conservation and Management Program, College of Natural and Computational Sciences Sciences, Arba Minch University, Arba Minch, Ethiopia © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of the International Water, Air & Soil Conservation Society(INWASCON). This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 2 B. GEBO ET AL. known (Gebresenbet et al., 2018). Be that as it may, the and livestock pressure. Such human-induced actions study of mammalian species in communal areas is can adversely affect the wildlife of the landscape. equally important (Girma & Worku, 2020; Lemma & Understanding the distribution of prominent biologi- Tekalign, 2020; Tamrat et al., 2020; Udy et al., 2021) cal components such as mammalian species in the area even more because of the huge anthropogenic pres- is important to urgent management actions. sures (Burgin et al., 2018; Girma et al., 2012; Legese Moreover, there is no ecological study on biodiversity et al., 2019; Worku & Girma, 2020). There are some undertaken in the area until now. documented information on mammalian species of Therefore, to contribute towards closing these gaps human-dominated landscapes in the northern, south- and to supply the primary essential quantitative bits of western, southeastern, and central parts of Ethiopia knowledge, the present study examined the impacts of (Bakala & Mekonen, 2020; Gebresenbet et al., 2018; habitats and seasons on mammalian species composi- Getachew & Mesele, 2018; Lavrenchenko & Bekele, tion, diversity and distribution using direct and indir- 2017; Legese et al., 2019; Qufa & Bekele, 2019) and ect mammalian species evidence along line transect. a few in Southern Ethiopia (Diriba et al., 2020; Girma The research questions surveyed were as follows: i) et al., 2012; Lemma & Tekalign, 2020). There are Are mammalian species composition and distribution several intact forests in the southern parts of vary between habitat types and seasons? It hypothe- Ethiopia. However, their fauna is still not well sized that larger size forested habitat and the wet documented. season would have more mammal species composi- The present study was carried out in the Mirab tion compared to agricultural areas and the dry season Abaya district, Gamo Zone, Southern Ethiopia. The as more resources are available in the larger sized landscape is largely a forest habitat that harbors dis- forest area and wet season; ii) does mammalian species tinctive mammal species. The study area is associated diversity vary among habitats and seasons? It hypothe- with Lake Abaya, the largest lake in the Ethiopian Rift sized that mammal species richness (number of spe- Valley system, which is the main water source for cies) and abundance (frequency of records) vary mammalian species and the lake created wetland habi- between wet and dry seasons and among habitats tat. In spite of this, the landscape has been under due to resource differences. The findings of the present human obstructions (e.g., poaching, settlement, study are crucial to justify the conservation status of expansion of banana and vegetable plantations, fire - mammalian species in different habitat types and sea- wood collection, and logging for charcoal production) sons in the landscape. Figure 1. Location of the study area and sampled area where transect line distributed among different habitats in the study area. GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 3 To collect mammalian data, a fixed-width line Materials and methods transect sampling method was used. Based on satellite The study area images, ArcGIS and preliminary survey, the study area was first stratified into the four habitat types described FFL is found in Mirab Abaya district in Gamo Zone, above: forest, wetland, grassland, and cultivated land Southern Ethiopia, and lies between 06°10ʹ12” to 06° following Worku and Girma (2020). Each habitat type 15ʹ00” N latitude and 37°42ʹ36” to 37°47ʹ24” further divided into spatially isolated sites as described E longitude (see Figure 1) and at about 475 km away above. This was delineated on a top map of the area, from Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. The and transects were then established systematically in study area is located 30 km north of Arba Minch town, representative (homogenous vegetation) areas of each the capital city of Gamo Zone. The total area of the habitat type in spatially isolated sites. The distance FFL is around 100 km . The FFL bounded by Fura between adjacent transects and from habitat edge to Kebele (the lowest administrative unit in Ethiopia) to the south, Faragosa Kebele to the north, and Lake a transect was limited to a minimum of 0.5 km, to avoid double counting and to avoid edge impacts, Abaya to the west and southwest. Fura and Faragosa respectively (Sutherland, 2006). A total of 36 line Kebeles are settlement areas in the study landscape. transects were established across the four major habi- There is one main asphalted road from Addis Ababa tat types. The number of transects varied among habi- to Arba Minch that crosses the FFL makes it easily tats depending on the isolated sites: 14 in the forest, 5 accessible. in wetland, and 9 in grassland and 10 in cultivated The altitudinal range of the FFL is 1,182–1,505 m a. land habitats. The length of each transect line was s.l. The study area has a bimodal rainfall: June to 2 km and a fixed sighting distance of 100 m on both September (heavy rains) and March to April (light sides of transects was used in the habitats. During data rains), the remaining months of the year are fairly collection, the starting and ending points of each dry. The mean monthly rainfall and temperature in transect fed into a Garmin GPS unit and used for the area are 41.8–161.4 mm and 14.75–26.75°C, navigation. respectively (ENMSA, 2019). FFL characterized by heterogeneous habitats. Thus, Data collected in August and September 2019 dur- ing the wet season and January and February 2020 based on land-use types and water availability, the during the dry season. Mammal surveys carried out landscape divided into four habitat types: forest 2 2 for two days per season and two times per day (early in (area = 36.04 km ), wetland (area = 10.12 km ), grass- the morning between 6:00, 10:00 hr and late in the land (area = 17.74 km ), and cultivated land afternoon between 15:00, 18:00 hr; when most animals (area = 24.19 km ) (see Figure 1). The habitats were are thought to be more active) (Belete & Melese, 2016; determined using degrees on Google Earth map, Woldegeorgis & Wube, 2012). Therefore, each trans- ArcGIS, reconnaissance, and with the help of a GPS. ect line was surveyed eight times during the study Each habitat types were further divided into spatially period. isolated sites (wetland = 5, forest = 14, grassland = 9, During transect visits, a researcher and five trained cultivated land = 10) where the line transects lay. data collectors traversed the line transects. The data Based on transect reconnaissance, the common flora collectors were walking quietly and gently and at of the area consists of Terminalia brownie, Acacia spp, Dodonaea angustifolia, Acalypha fruticosa, Maytenus a constant speed along each transect against the direc- tion of the wind to minimize disturbances of mamma- arbutifolia, Olea europaea, Ximenia americana, lian species. During data collection, a researcher and Syzygium guineense, Prunus africana, Bridelia sclero- five trained field assistants traversed the transect lines. neura, Maytenus undata, Vangueria apiculata, Rhus The observers were walking quietly and gently along vulgaris and Ozoroa insigns. each transect and at a constant speed along each transect against the direction of the wind to minimize Data collection disturbances of mammalian species. Data were collected by recording animal observa- Diurnal line-transect is a well-recognized and cost- tions and signs (fecal droppings, feed marks, tracks, effective methodology for surveying medium and burrows, territorial markings, spine sound, and other large vertebrates in tropical forests and savannas evidence) (Kingdong, 2015; Rabira et al., 2015). To (Sutherland, 2006). It is one of the best methods for avoid recounting of the same sign during subsequent estimating abundance of relatively large and conspic- monthly sampling periods, only the counted signs by uous mammals (Sutherland, 2006). So, combining data collectors and the researcher were marked at diurnal line-transect with indirect surveys (including a place. Data collectors shifted in transects to mini- fresh tracks, feces, hair, horns, burrows and digging) mize bias. Data recorded whenever an individual ani- can enhance the detectability for many mammal spe- mal or group or signs of animals sighted were as cies, contributing to maximize the species lists follows: date, time, habitat type, species name, (Getachew & Mesele, 2018). 4 B. GEBO ET AL. individual number of each species, and GPS location diversity index, and evenness index, respectively, (Diriba et al., 2020; Girma et al., 2012; Rabira et al., using the following formula (Sutherland, 2006): 2015). Animal counting was made by the naked eye Biodiversity attributes Equation and using Bushnell laser rangefinder binoculars. Shannon-Weaver diversity Index: H ¼ pi ln pi Whenever deemed necessary, the field guide book i¼1 Dominance of Simpson index D ¼ 1 �Pi was used for the identification of mammalian species Simpson’s diversity index: 1 D ¼ 1 i (Kingdong, 2015). Only unambiguous signs recorded. Evenness index: E ¼ In of S Data from the four replicate surveys in seasons were pooled together for each transect and used for analysis where H′ = Shannon–Weaver diversity Index, (Diriba et al., 2020; Girma & Worku, 2020). Data 1-D = Simpson diversity index, D = dominance, collectors were used COVID 19 preventive measures S = the number of species, Pi = the proportion of such as social distancing and mouth mask throughout sampled species expressed as a proportion of the the data collection and compiling data. total sample, ln = logbase . Then, variations in the number of species belonging Data analysis to each relative abundance category among habitats were tested using chi-square test. To examine the Based on records of direct and indirect sign sur- similarity of species composition among habitat veys along transects, a presence/absence data types, Morisita–Horn index (sensitive to the abun- matrix was generated and processed for the study dance of the most abundant species) analysis was habitats and seasons. The recorded evidence of conducted between each pair of habitats (Sutherland, mammalian species classified to their respective 2006). Habitat analysis performed using ArcGIS and orders, families, species level, and IUCN Red List all data analysis performed using Minitab software. categories. The conservation status of each species was also identified based on the IUCN Red List (IUCN, 2021). An individual-based rarefaction Results method was used to estimate species richness and Species composition and richness abundance in habitat types and seasons (Legese et al., 2019; Qufa & Bekele, 2019). Similarities in A total of 21 mammalian species belonging to six species composition among habitats were pre- orders and 13 families were identified in the FFL sented using Venn diagram. The summed abun- (see Table 1). Order Carnivora was the first and dance of the number of encounters of each species the second most abundant order in terms of the recorded along each transect for each habitat type number of families (five families) and species (six in each season was used as the input for the species), respectively. Order Artiodactyla was individual-based richness computation. Species the second and the first most abundant in terms richness, diversity, and evenness of mammalian of the number of families (three families) and species in the study area were analyzed by species (seven species), respectively. Four Shannon–Weaver diversity Index, Simpson’s Table 1. List of mammalian species recorded in the FFL, their scientific names, common names, local names, and IUCN red list categories. Order Family species Common name Local name IUCN category Artiodactyla Bovidae Tragelaphus imberbis Lesser kudu Chokosho LR/cd Redunca redunca Bohor reedbuck Genessa LR/cd Ourebia ourebi Oribi Gara LR/cd Sylvicapra grimmia Common duiker Gara LR/lc Suidae Phacochoerus aethiopicus Common warthog Gashuwa LR/lc Potamochoerus larvatus Bush pig Guduntha LR/lc Hippopotamidae Hippopotamus amphibius Hippopotamus Gamuara VU Tubulidentata Orycteropodidae Orycteropus afer Aardvark Zerusa LC Rodentia Hystricidae Hystrix cristata Crested porcupine Kotarissa LC Sciuridae Xerus rutilus Unstriped ground squirrel Farshole LC Marmota monax Marmot Fuge Primates Cercopithecidae Papio anubis Olive baboon Gelesho LR/lc Colobus guereza Mantled guereza Wonuwa LR/lc Chlorocebus aethiops Vervet monkey Qare LR/lc Carnivora Hyeaniadae Crocuta crocuta Spotted hyena Godare LC Mustelidae Mellivora capensis Honey badger Erzuntha LC Viverridae Civettictis civetta African civet Sege LC Felidae Panthera leo Lion Gamo VU Panthera pardus Leopard Mahe VU Canidae Canis mesomelas Black-backed jackal Worakana LC Lagomorpha Leporidae Lepus habessinicus Rabbit Harbantho LC Abbreviations: LR/cd, Lower risk/conservation dependent; LR/lc, Lower risk/least concern; LC, Least concern; VU, Vulnerable. GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 5 mammalian orders were represented each by and Panthera leo were habitat specialists recorded only a single species. At the family level, Bovidae in grassland, forest and wetland, respectively (see (four species) and Canidae (three species) were Figure 2). Except for Panthera leo, Panthera pardus, the dominant families. The families Suidae, and Colobus guereza, All species encountered in the Felidae, and Sciuridae were represented each by three habitats are subsets of the species recorded in two species, but eight families were represented the grassland. each by a single species. Based on IUCN Red List categories, three species such as Hippopotamus amphibius, Panthera leo, and Species relative abundance Panthera pardus were vulnerable species found in A total of 685 pieces of evidence of mammalian species the study area. Tragelaphus imberbis, Redunca were recorded in the FFL. The number of records redunca, and Ourebia ourebi were categorized as varied among orders and families. The abundant lower risk/conservation dependent IUCN cate- order by the number of records from the study area gories (see Table 1). Out of a total of 21 species was order Primates which include 290, followed by recorded, 20 species recorded during the wet and order Artiodactyla including 194. The least abundant dry seasons, while Panthera pardus recorded only order was Tubulidentata, which composes only eight in the wet season (see Figure 5). records. The most abundant family by the number of records was Cercopithecidae (290), whereas the least was Viverridae, comprising only three records. Based Species distribution on the frequency of records, Papio anubis (20.15%) At the habitat level, mammal species richness and was the most abundant in the study area followed by assemblage were varied among the four habitat types, Chlorocebus aethiops (19.27%). Based on IUCN Red in increasing order of wetland < cultivated land < forest List categories, the vulnerable species such as Panthera < grassland (see Figure 2). Redunca redunca, Ourebia pardus and Panthera leo each contributed less than ourebi, Phacochoerus aethiopicus, Hystrix cristata, Papio 0.29%, whereas Hippopotamus amphibius contributed anubis, and Chlorocebus aethiops were the six (23.81%) 4.09% of the total records. species that shared all habitat types in common (habitat The results of the present study showed that of the generalists), while Lepus habessinicus, Panthera pardus 685 total records, 30.80% (N = 211) was recorded in Figure 2. The Venn diagram showing assemblage of mammalian species in habitat types. Note: TI, Tragelaphus imberbis; RR, Redunca redunca; OO, Ourebia ourebi; SG, Sylvicapra grimmia; PA, Phacochoerus aethiopicus; PL, Potamochoerus larvatus; HA, Hippopotamus amphibius; OA, Orycteropus afer; HC, Hystrix cristata, XR, Xerus rutilus; MM, Marmota monax; PAU, Papio anubis; CG, Colobus guereza; CP, Chlorocebus aethiops; CC, Crocuta crocuta; MC, Mellivora capensis; CIC, Civettictis civetta; PLE, Panthera leo; PP, Panthera pardus; CM, Canis mesomelas; LH, Lepus habessinicus; CP, Chlorocebus aethiops. 6 B. GEBO ET AL. Figure 3. Mean number of species richness and frequency of records computed by rarefaction curve among the four stratified habitat types (A) and seasons (B). the natural forest, 20% (N = 137) in the wetland, in cultivated land the most abundant was Xerus 29.64% (N = 203) in grassland and 19.56% (N = 134) rutilus (29.14%, n = 39) followed by Crocuta cro- in the cultivated land habitats. The number of records cuta (22.39%, n = 30). Panthera pardus and of mammalian species was varied significantly among Panthera leo were only recorded in forest and habitats (KWχ = 6.03; P > 0.05). wetland habitats, respectively. Mammalian species The mean number of species richness and relative frequency of records among the four habitat types abundance (frequency of records) computed by the is described in Figure 4 below. rarefaction curve among the four stratified habitat The number of records of mammalian species types and seasons is represented by Figure 3 below. was higher in the dry season (n = 377, 55.04%) At species-specific level, Chlorocebus aethiops than in the wet season (n = 308, 44.96%). The was most abundant species in forest habitat abundance of mammalian species varied signifi - (33.18%, n = 70) and wetland (32.11%, n = 44) cantly between seasons (χ = 40.783; df = 20; followed by Papio anubis (26.54%, n = 56) and P < 0.05). Two species (Papio anubis and Hippopotamus amphibius (20.43%, n = 28), respec- Chlorocebus aethiops) were relatively the most tively. Papio anubis (23.49%, n = 47) was also the abundant in both seasons (see Figure 5). These most abundant in grassland followed by two species contributed 37.99% and 40.58% of the Phacochoerus aethiopicus (13.30%, n = 27) while, total records of the wet and dry season survey, Forest Lepus habessinicus Wet-land Canis mesomelas Grass-land Cultivated-land Panthera pardus Panthera leo Civettictis civetta Mellivora capensis Crocuta crocuta Chlorocebus pygerythrus Colobus guereza Papio anubis Marmota monax Xerus rutilus Hystrix cristata Orycteropus afer Hippopotamus amphibious Potamochoerus larvatus Phacochoerus aethiopicus Sylvicapra grimmia Ourebia ourebi Redunca redunca Tragelaphus imberbis 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 Figure 4. Mammalian species frequency of records among four habitat types. GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 7 Lepus habessinicus Dry season records Canis mesomelas Wet season records Panthera pardus Panthera leo Civettictis civetta Mellivora capensis Crocuta crocuta Chlorocebus pygerythrus Colobus guereza Papio anubis Marmota monax Xerus rutilus Hystrix cristata Orycteropus afer Hippopotamus amphibious Potamochoerus larvatus Phacochoerus aethiopicus Sylvicapra grimmia Ourebia ourebi Redunca redunca Tragelaphus imberbis 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Figure 5. Mammalian species frequency of records in wet and dry seasons. respectively. The remaining mammalian records species diversity (0.8968) in the study area. Among contributed between 0.32 and 7.79% in the wet the four habitats, more similarity of mammalian spe- season and 0.53 and 6.90% during the dry season cies was observed between forest and grassland (0.609) survey. Frequency of records across habitat types and the least similarity observed wetland vs. cultivated was significantly different (χ = 43.147; df = 20; land (0.273). The diversity indices and similarity of P < 0.05) between seasons. mammalian species across habitats are described in Figure 6. Species diversity and similarity indices Discussion The Shannon diversity of mammal species was higher in the grassland (H = 2.543) than in other habitats. Species taxonomic composition However, there was no significant difference in The orders and families of mammalian species Shannon – Wiener Index values between the four recorded in the present study were higher than in habitat types. The higher and lower evenness of the the study conducted on medium and large-sized mammalian species was recorded in grassland mammals in different localities. For instance, (E = 0.7064) and natural forest (E = 0.4761). The Legese et al. (2019) identified five orders and seven dominance of mammalian species was recorded from families in the Wabe forest, Ethiopia. Also, Qufa and the highest to the lowest in the natural forest Bekele (2019) identified seven orders and 11 families (D = 0.1983) and grassland (D = 0.1051), respectively. from the Lebu Natural Protected Forest, Southwest Shannon diversity index and dominance of mamma- Showa, Ethiopia; Lemma and Tekalign (2020) lian species were similar during the dry and wet sea- recorded four orders and five families in the sons. The overall species richness of FFL was 21 and Humbo Community-Based Forest Area, Southern Shannon–Wiener Index value (H) was 2.56, and Ethiopia; herein FFL 6 orders and 13 families were Simpson’s index of diversity showed the highest recorded. On the contrary, Girma and Worku 8 B. GEBO ET AL. Figure 6. Error bars of mammalian species diversity indices across habitat types. (2020) identified nine families and five orders in the Mesele, 2018; Girma & Worku, 2020; Rabira et al., Nensebo Forest, Southern Ethiopia, which is higher 2015; Worku & Girma, 2020). than the present study. The Primates were the most abundant order Species richness recorded and all belong to the family Cercopithecidae. Similarly, several studies have also The present survey revealed 21 different large and reported a higher relative abundance of Primates medium-sized mammalian species from the FFL. than other orders from different parts of Ethiopia Some studies that have used similar transect line tech- (Bakala & Mekonen, 2020; Belete & Melese, 2016; niques and in areas of different protection levels across Rabira et al., 2015; Worku & Girma, 2020). This is the country and elsewhere revealed that the mamma- could be due to the high reproductive successes, lian species recorded were lower than the results their more adaptive nature to different habitats, obtained from the present study. For example, diversified foraging behavior, and high tolerance Lemma and Tekalign (2020) recorded a total of eight level of Primates to human disturbances (Lemma & large and medium mammalian species in Humbo Tekalign, 2020; Negeri et al., 2015). Order Carnivora Community-Based Forest Area, Southern Ethiopia; contained the highest number of families (4) among Woldegeorgis and Wube (2012) recorded 14 mammal other orders. The result is consistent with the dif- species from Yayu forest in southwest Ethiopia; ferent studies elsewhere in Ethiopia (Bakala & Getachew and Mesele (2018) recorded even lower Mekonen, 2020; Girma & Worku, 2020; Lemma & (12) mammal species in the Mengaza communal for- Tekalign, 2020; Rabira et al., 2015). Order est, East Gojjam, Ethiopia. This variation might Artiodactyla has the highest species richness and account for variation in mammalian species group the second abundant order recorded. This is in composition, variation in vegetation structure and agreement with the study in the Nensebo forest in human influence, and livestock grazing. The findings Southern Ethiopia where Artiodactyla was the most of the present study, therefore, highlight that FFL has abundant order containing more species (Girma & valuable importance for the conservation of Ethiopia’s Worku, 2020; Lemma & Tekalign, 2020). Orders mammal species. In addition, the number of mamma- such as Rodentia, Tubulidentata, and Lagomorpha lian species recorded during the present study was also were recorded as less in the number of individuals. comparable to several other studies conducted in This is in line with other studies in different local- Ethiopia and elsewhere. For instance, Njoroge et al. ities in Ethiopia (Fetene et al., 2019; Getachew & (2009) recorded 23 species in the Arawale National GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 9 Reserve, Kenya; Bene et al. (2013) recorded 23 species agrees with other studies (Bakala & Mekonen, 2020; in the Sime Darby, Liberia; Girma et al. (2012) Rabira et al., 2015). recorded 19 species in the Wendo Genet, Ethiopia. All species recorded in the forest, wetland, and The relative abundance of food sources, dense green cultivated land (except Panthera leo, Colobus guer- vegetation cover, and availability of water (Lake eza, and Panthera pardus) habitats are subsets of the Abaya) might be the major factors governing their species recorded in the grassland habitat. Given the abundance and species richness in the present study small size of the grassland habitat compared with the area. forest, these results are surprising and disagree with The present study showed that globally vulnerable the well-established area-species relationship; which species such as Panthera leo, Panthera pardus, and states that habitats with greater area tend to contain Hippopotamus amphibius were recorded in the area, a higher number of species compared with habitats indicating the area is potential for mammalian biodi- with a smaller area (Bakala & Mekonen, 2020; Diriba versity conservation. et al., 2020; Udy et al., 2021; Worku & Girma, 2020). Specifically, the presence of a large number of order Artiodactyla (herbivore species) guilds found in the Species relative abundance grassland, as a result of higher habitat quality, might have also attracted a high number of order Carnivora Papio anubis and Chlorocebus aethiops were the most species and resulting in increased diversity (Diriba recorded and Civettictis civetta, Panthera leo, and et al., 2020; Fetene et al., 2019; Girma & Worku, Panthera pardus were the least recorded mammal 2020). Therefore, the different habitats should be species in the study area. The low abundance (fre- given equivalent conservation attention. Further quency of records) of carnivores might be associated focused studies are needed on prey-predator rela- with their nocturnal behavior. As described by Wolf tionships for impactive management planning in and Ripple (2018), Gebresenbet et al. (2018), Lemma the FFL. and Tekalign (2020), and Worku and Girma (2020), Species assemblage of the wetland habitat was nine most carnivore species are solitary, nocturnal and and dominated by Hippopotamus amphibius and crepuscular so that their presence could not be easily Chlorocebus aethiops . This indicates that, despite documented. hosting the lowest number of species, the wetland The present study contradicts the hypothesized habitat supports species that are unique to that habitat trend of a higher frequency of records during the wet type, specifically the vulnerable Hippopotamus amphi- season than the dry season because of resource avail- bius. Thus, the wetland habitat plays a complementary ability. For example, the number of records of mam- role in increasing mammal diversity and water sources malian species recorded during the dry season (377) for mammalian species of the FFL. Similar results have surpassed the number recorded during the wet season been demonstrated by a number of studies (Bakala & (308). Moreover, most of the species of the FFL such as Mekonen, 2020; Fetene et al., 2019; Rabira et al., 2015; Lepus habessinicus, Mellivora capensis, Crocuta cro- Udy et al., 2021; Worku & Girma, 2020), suggesting cuta, Chlorocebus aethiops, Colobus guereza, Papio that a combination of wetland and other habitats is anubis, Orycteropus afer, Hippopotamus amphibius, crucial to the long-term maintenance of viable popu- Phacochoerus aethiopicus and Ourebia ourebi were lations of some species. recorded relatively in a lower frequency of records Panthera pardus and Panthera leo are the most during the wet season compared with the dry season. widely distributed cats in the world, where food This in line with the work of Kasso and Bekele (2017) and cover are available (Burgin et al., 2018; Wolf in the Assela fragmented forest, Ethiopia, but dis- & Ripple, 2018); however, they are vulnerable and agrees with the work of Worku and Girma (2020) in at risk of local extinction (IUCN, 2021; the Geremba forest of Southern Ethiopia where more Lavrenchenko & Bekele, 2017; Ripple et al., 2014; mammalian species were observed during the wet Tefera, 2011). Furthermore, in the present study season than the dry season. The possible explanation area, they were restricted to wetland and forest for this could be the growth of herbaceous and ground habitats, respectively. This might be due to the vegetation provided thick cover for the mammalian conflict with the local people due to predation species, which makes the sighting of them difficult for domestic animals (Tefera, 2011). Also, this (Diriba et al., 2020; Girma et al., 2012; Girma & might contribute to the rareness of these species. Worku, 2020; Qufa & Bekele, 2019). In the present study, Hippopotamus amphibius is distributed in three habitat types and the most Species distribution abundant in wetland habitat. This might be because of their ecological preferences and adapta- The results of the present study showed that of the 685 tion of mammalian species playing a role in their total records, the frequency of records was higher in distribution in different habitat types (Penjor the forest (30.80%) followed by wetland. The result 10 B. GEBO ET AL. et al., 2021; Tamrat et al., 2020; Udy et al., 2021; Study limitations and future research Wolf & Ripple, 2018). The presence of these con- directions servation concern species demonstrates that the Limitations of this study that might affect the strength study landscape is a potential area for wildlife of inference are carefully considered. Due to logistical conservation. constraints, we were unable to access many portions of the study area or to implement a random sampling design, so our transect lines survey may represent Diversity index of the landscape a biased sample yielding incomplete information on The species index of the diversity of the study area mammalian species occurrence patterns in the land- showed higher species richness (H = 2.56; scape. Nevertheless, we were able to sample across 1-D = 0.8968) than to study conducted by Qufa and strata in our hypothesized factors of influence, and Bekele (2019) in the Lebu natural protected forest, we attempted to control for the impacts of spatial Ethiopia (H = 2.119; 1-D = 0.8167). The grassland and temporal sampling, such as habitats and seasons, habitat is characterized by greater species richness on occurrence. and Shannon diversity index, and vice versa for wet- We infrequently recorded several of the mamma- land habitats. The present study was also comparable lian species in the FFL, a common challenge in surveys to the species diversity index (D = 7.142) recorded in of rare and elusive species (e.g., carnivores), and the Geremba forest by Worku and Girma (2020). despite advantages of both direct and indirect sign Different possible factors like availability of food survey approach, stronger inference is ultimately sources, dense forest cover, and water might be con- achieved only by greater sampling effort (including tributed to higher species richness. more targeted, species-specific sampling) (Penjor et al., 2021). Our indices representing spatial and temporal fea- tures of hypothesized importance were generated from Conclusion and recommendations the best available information, but their reliability may The findings of the study reveal that FFL supports be diminished by associated uncertainty. Transect data a considerable number of medium and large mamma- underestimated the occurrence and abundance of smal- lian species, including three globally threatened species: ler species (Gebresenbet et al., 2018), so corresponding the vulnerable Panthera pardus, Panthera leo, and diversity indices are dominated by the larger and better- Hippopotamus amphibius (IUCN, 2021). This is the detected species. Future work focusing more specifically first ecological information on the diversity of mamma- on these smaller species and illusive carnivore species is lian species of the FFL, which would serve as valuable therefore in need. baseline information for stakeholders to make impac- Important variation in mammalian habitat quality tive conservation decisions and for researchers wishing may not have been adequately described by habitat to conduct related ecological studies. Additionally, the types, which might be more tightly linked to the eco- least conservation concern species such as Papio anubis, logical characteristics of certain species (Udy et al., Chlorocebus aethiops, and Phacochoerus aethiopicus are 2021). For example, specie richness is higher in culti- highly recorded in the study area across habitat types vated lands than wetland, while such survey show and seasons. The Simpson index showed that the area great promise for improving ecological understanding harbors diverse mammalian species. The number of across spatial and temporal scales, they are not medium and large-sized mammalian species recorded a substitute for detailed, field-based assessments of in the study area is higher and comparable to other habitat that are largely lacking for FFL. localities in Ethiopia and elsewhere using similar trans- Nevertheless, such limitations are common to many ect line technique, sampling, and direct and indirect human-dominated landscapes, particularly in develop- field methods. ing nations like Ethiopia, and our study highlights Despite the importance of FFL as the home for 21 a conservation relevant approach to characterizing mammalian species belonging to six orders and 13 a landscape. Future work should seek to test and families, it is not legalized as a wildlife refuge area. improve upon these measures of landscape heterogene- Therefore, to ensure the long-term conservation of the ity and address other important ecological and anthro- mammalian species of the forest, the following recom- pogenic factors. Impact of vegetation, impact of human mendations are suggested: The federal and regional disturbance such as roads, human-wildlife relation governments should legalize it as a wildlife refuge area (Newbold et al., 2015; Penjor et al., 2021), competition to conserve mammalian species of the area. Clear among mammals and home range (Tamrat et al., 2020) demarcation of the area is also essential. Local com- and advanced survey approach (e.g., camera trapping munity and knowledge-based conservation and man- (Penjor et al., 2021) should be surveyed. agement initiatives must be implemented in the area. GEOLOGY, ECOLOGY, AND LANDSCAPES 11 status of large mammalian species in Sime darby oil palm Acknowledgments concession in Liberia. Global Journal of Biology, Our special gratitude goes to the Mirab Abaya Wereda Agriculture & Health Sciences, 2(3), 93–102 Administrative office for allowing us to research in the Burgin, C. J., Colella, J. P., Kahn, P. L., & Upham, N. S. Faragosa-Fura landscape. We also duly acknowledge (2018). How many species of mammalian species are Faragosa and Fura Kebeles administrative office and agri- there? Journal of Mammalogy, 99(1), 1–14. https://doi. cultural extension workers for their assistance during data org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx147 collection in the habitat types. We also thank the Diriba, G., Tamene, S., Mengesha, G., & Asefa, A. (2020). Department of Biology, College of Natural Science, Arba Diversity of medium and large mammalian species in the Minch University, for their invaluable logistics and financial Loka Abaya National Park, southern Ethiopia. Ecology support. We are thankful for the Arba Minch College of and Evolution, 10(18), 9896–9905. https://doi.org/10. Teachers education (Ayalew Abera, Yaricho Yaya, Daniel 1002/ece3.6649 Befikadu) for the logistic support as well as covering the ENMSA. (2019). Ethiopia national meteorological service living and other costs of the Ph.D. candidate and we are agency, data base for metrological data source (2009- grateful for the support provided. 2019) of Mirab Abaya District, Ethiopia,Mega publisher Fetene, A., Yeshitela, K., & Gebremariam, E. (2019). The impacts of anthropogenic landscape change on the abun- Availability of data dance and habitat use of terrestrial large mammalian species of Nech Sar National Park. Environmental All data used are included in the article and supplementary Systems Research, 8(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1186/ material. s40068-019-0147-z Gebresenbet, F., Baraki, B., Yirga, G., Sillero-Zubiri, C., & Bauer, H. (2018). A culture of tolerance: Coexisting with Authors’ contributions large carnivores in the Kafa Highlands, Ethiopia. ORYX, 52 (4), 751–760. https://doi.org/10.1017/ Berhanu Gebo, Serekebirhan Takele and Simon Shibru con- S0030605316001356 ceived, designed the study data collection. Berhanu Gebo Getachew, A., & Mesele, Y. (2018). Species composition and conducted fieldwork, analysis, write the manuscript and relative abundance of medium and large mammalian revised the whole document. Serekebirhan Takele and Simon species in Mengaza communal forest, East Gojjam, Shibru designed the survey method, edited the manuscript and Ethiopia. Journal of Ecology and the Natural revised the final version of the main document for submission Environment, 10(2), 34–40. https://doi.org/10.5897/ for potential review. All authors contributed to the writing of jene2017.0667 the manuscript and approved the submitted version. Girma, Z., Mamo, Y., & Ersado, M. (2012). Species com- position, distribution and relative abundance of large mammalian species in and around wondo genet forest Disclosure statement patch, Southern Ethiopia. Asian Journal of Applied No potential conflict of interest was reported by the Sciences, 5(8), 538–551. https://doi.org/10.3923/ajaps. author(s). 2012.538.551 Girma, Z., & Worku, Z. (2020). Large mammal diversity in Nensebo Forest, Southern Ethiopia. International Journal Funding of Zoology, 2020, 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/ This work was supported by the Arba Minch university. IUCN. (2021). The IUCN red list of threatened species. Version 2020-3.12 January 2021. https://www.iucnred list.org ORCID Kasso, M., & Bekele, A. (2017). Diversity, abundance and distribution of mammalian species in Fragmented Berhanu Gebo http://orcid.org/0000-0003-3876-0948 Remnant Forests around Asella Town, Ethiopia. MAYFEB Journal of Biology, 1(January). Kingdong, J. (2015). Kingdon field guide to African mamma- References lian species-bloomsbury natural history (2nd ed.). Lavrenchenko, L. A., & Bekele, A. (2017). Diversity and Amare, A. (2015). Wildlife resources of Ethiopia: opportu- conservation of Ethiopian mammalian species: What nities, challenges and future directions: From ecotourism have we learned in 30 years? Ethiopian Journal of perspective: A review paper. Natural Resources, 6(6), 405– Biological Sciences, 16, 1–20. 422. https://doi.org/10.4236/nr.2015.66039 Legese, K., Bekele, A., & Kiros, S. (2019). A survey of large Bakala, F., & Mekonen, G. (2020). Species diversity and and medium-sized mammalian species in Wabe forest relative abundance of medium and large-sized wild mam- fragments, Gurage zone, Ethiopia. International Journal malian species: A study from adaba community forest, of Avian & Wildlife Biology, 4(2), 32–38. https://doi.org/ West Arsi Zone, Southeast Ethiopia. African Journal of 10.15406/ijawb.2019.04.00149 Ecology, 59(2), 38–43. https://doi.org/10.1111/aje.12827 Lemma, A., & Tekalign, W. (2020). Abundance, species Belete, T., & Melese, M. (2016). Assessment of large mam- diversity, and distribution of diurnal mammalian species malian species potential in Tululujia Wildlife Reserve, in humbo community-based forest area, Southern Southwestern Ethiopia. International Journal of Ethiopia. International Journal of Zoology, 2020, 1–5. Agricultural and Life Sciences. https://doi.org/10.22573/ https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/5761697 spg.ijals.016.s12200070 Mekonen, S. (2020). Coexistence between human and wild- Bene, J. K., Bitty, E. A., Bohoussou, K. H., Abedi-, M., life: The nature, causes and mitigations of human wildlife Gamys, J., & Soribah, P. A. J. (2013). current conservation 12 B. GEBO ET AL. conflict around Bale Mountains National Park, Southeast Ripple, W. J., Estes, J. A., Beschta, R. L., Wilmers, C. C., Ethiopia. BMC Ecology, 20(1), 1–9. https://doi.org/10. Ritchie, E. G., Hebblewhite, M., Berger, J., Elmhagen, B., 1186/s12898-020-00319–1 Letnic, M., Nelson, M. P., Schmitz, O. J., Smith, D. W., Negeri, D., Gadisa, T., & Habtamu, T. (2015). The diversity, Wallach, A. D., & Wirsing, A. J. (2014). Status and eco- distribution and relative abundance of medium and logical impacts of the world’s largest carnivores. Science, large-sized mammalian species in Baroye Controlled 343, 6167. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1241484 Hunting Area, Illubabor Zone, Southwest Ethiopia. Sutherland, W. J. (2006). Ecological census techniques: International Journal of Molecular Evolution and A handbook (Second ed.). Cambridge University Press. Biodiversity, 5(4), 1–9. https://doi.org/10.5376/ Udy, K., Fritsch, M., Meyer, K. M., Grass, I., Hanß, S., Hartig, F., ijmeb.2015.05.0004 Kneib, T., Kreft, H., Kukunda, C. B., Pe’er, G., Newbold, T., Hudson, L. N., Hill, S. L. L., Contu, S., Reininghaus, H., Tietjen, B., Tscharntke, T., Van Lysenko, I., Senior, R. A., Börger, L., Bennett, D. J., Waveren, C. S., & Wiegand, K. (2021). Environmental het- Choimes, A., Collen, B., Day, J., De Palma, A., Díaz, S., erogeneity predicts global species richness patterns better Echeverria-Londoño, S., Edgar, M. J., Feldman, A., than area. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 30(4), 842–851. Garon, M., Harrison, M. L. K., Alhusseini, T., & Purvis, https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.13261 A. (2015). Global impacts of land use on local terrestrial Wale, M. (2017). Wildlife threats and their relative severity biodiversity. Nature, 520(7545), 45–50. https://doi.org/ of Eastern Ethiopia Protected Areas. Ecology and 10.1038/nature14324 Evolutionary Biology, 2(4), 59. https://doi.org/10.11648/j. Njoroge, P., Yego, R., Muchane, M., Githiru, M., Njeri, T., & eeb.20170204.12 Giani, A. (2009). A survey of the large and medium sized Wolf, C., & Ripple, W. J. (2018). Rewilding the world’s large mammalian species of Arawale National Reserve, Kenya. carnivores. Royal Society Open Science, 5(3). https://doi. Journal of East African Natural History, 98(1), 119–128. org/10.1098/rsos.172235 https://doi.org/10.2982/028.098.0108 Worku, Z., & Girma, Z. (2020). Large mammal diversity and Penjor, U., Wangdi, S., Tandin, T., & Macdonald, D. W. endemism at Geremba Mountain Fragment, Southern (2021). Vulnerability of mammal communities to the Ethiopia. International Journal of Ecology, 2020, 1–11. combined of anthropic land-use and climate change in https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/3840594 the Himalayan conservation landscape of Bhutan. Yalden, D. W., Largen, M. J., Kock, D., & Yalden, D. W. Ecological Indicators, 121, 107085. https://doi.org/10. (1986). Catalogue of the mammalian species of ethiopia: 1016/j.ecolind.2020.107085 6. perissodactyla, proboscidea, hyracoidea, lagomorpha, Qufa, C. A., & Bekele, A. (2019). A preliminary survey of tubulidentata, sirenia and cetacea. Monitore Zoologico medium and large-sized mammalian species from lebu Italiano, Supplemento, 21(1), 31–103. https://doi.org/10. natural protected Forest, Southwest Showa, Ethiopia. 1080/03749444.1986.10736707 Ecology and Evolution, 9(21), 12322–12331. https://doi. Tamrat, M., Atickem, A., Tsegaye, D., Nguyen, N., Bekele, org/10.1002/ece3.5733 A., Evangelista, P., Fashing, P. J., & Stenseth, N. C. (2020). Rabira, G., Tsegaye, G., & Tadesse, H. (2015). The diversity, Human-wildlife conflict and coexistence: A case study abundance and habitat association of medium and from Senkele Swayne’s Hartebeest Sanctuary in large-sized mammalian species of Dati Wolel National Ethiopia. Wildlife Biology, 2020(3),1-9. https://doi.org/ Park, Western Ethiopia. International Journal of 10.2981/wlb.00712 Biodiversity and Conservation, 7(2), 112–118. https:// Tefera, M. (2011). Wildlife in Ethiopia: Endemic Large doi.org/10.5897/ijbc2014.0808 Mammalian species. World Journal of Zoology, 6(2), Reeder, D. M., Helgen, K. M., & Wilson, D. E. (2019). Global 108–116 trends and biases in new mammal species discoveries. Woldegeorgis, G., & Wube, T. (2012). A Survey on Global Trends and Biases in New Mammal Species Mammalian species of The Yayu Forest in Southwest Discoveries. https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.156951 Ethiopia. Journal of Science, 35(2), 135–138
Geology Ecology and Landscapes
Taylor & Francis
Impacts of habitats and seasons on mammalian diversity and distribution in the Faragosa-Fura landscape, Gamo Zone, Southern Ethiopia
Geology Ecology and Landscapes
, Volume 7 (2): 12 –
Apr 3, 2023
Share Full Text for Free
Add to Folder
Web of Science