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Ecología en Bolivia

Print version ISSN 1605-2528On-line version ISSN 2075-5023


MAILLARD, Oswaldo et al. Landscape integrity and risks of jaguar (Panthera onca) habitat degradation in cattle ranching areas of lowland Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Ecología en Bolivia [online]. 2020, vol.55, n.2, pp.94-110. ISSN 1605-2528.

Habitat loss and fragmentation are the main threats to the jaguar. In this analysis, we present an assessment of the integrity of the landscape and the risks of habitat degradation in the lowlands of the department of Santa Cruz, with an emphasis on cattle ranching properties. We identified the fragmentation of natural cover and structural connectivity for the years 1986, 2010 and 2016. We estimated the distribution of the jaguar habitat and a projection of its reduction until 2046. Habitat degradation was quantified by mapping the occurrence of grassland burns and forest fires in the period 2001-2019. We identified habitat corridors among protected areas based on the least-cost movement routes and reviewed the limits of Santa Cruz' JCUs (Jaguar Conservation Units) proposed in 2007. We found that habitat fragmentation at the property scale increased in some areas and decreased in others, while structural connectivity decreased mainly due to forest loss in the Northwestern Chaco sector and to conversion of non-forested areas in the Central Chiquitano sector. We estimated that the habitat of the jaguar for the entire department is 26.3 MM ha, with a projected reduction to 13.7 MM ha by the year 2046. The cattle ranches with the highest concentration of habitat are located in Chiquitano Central (1.4 MM ha). In 19 years, fire affected 42% of the habitat mainly in 2004, 2007, 2010 and 2019. We propose seven JCUs in different biogeographical sectors for the department. We also identified 39 connectors of 5.8 MM ha between protected areas, consisting mainly of potential jaguar habitat (68.9%) and involving 5,696 cattle properties.

Keywords : Connectivity; Conservation; Distribution; Fragmentation; Protected areas.

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