Habitat loss is threatening the main Gran Chaco mammals

Gran Chaco
Maria E Periago, Ricardo A. Ojeda, Sandra M. Diaz

Maria Eugenia Periago contacted us to generate a video showing vegetation loss in the Gran Chaco region between 2004 and 2012. Maria Eugenia has a BSc in Environmental Science and Policy, MSc in Wildlife Management and is currently fourth year PhD Student at the Universidad Nacional de Cordoba in Argentina To introduce this new video, we asked her to tell us a bit more about the Gran Chaco and her research.

source: Wikipedia

Grey Brocket Deer (Mazama gouazoubira)

source: Dario Podesta

The Gran Chaco is one of the major open savannah woodland ecosystems in the world. Accelerated changes in land use have resulted in a complex mosaic of ecosystems with varying capabilities for sustaining wildlife. Furthermore, hunting and habitat loss increasingly threaten the functional diversity of mammals. We are fast approaching a time where defaunation and deforestation are commonly accepted consequences of human sprawl and are already beginning to talk about reforestation and refaunation. Many studies have focused on tropical systems; however, this great South American savannah is often ignored at an international level.  

Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu)

source: Wikipedia

My research focuses on assessing the potential consequences of chacoan mammal loss on ecosystem functioning, particularly on the role played by large and medium-sized herbivorous and frugivorous native mammals of the Argentine Chaco, such as Grey Brocket Deer (Mazama gouazoubira), Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) and Grey Fox (Lycalopex gymnocercus). Our preliminary results show that there is an important void in information regarding the population status of these native mammals in the Chaco, as well as the functional roles they play in the ecosystem and a lack of studies examining the consequences of their potential loss on the system. Concerned with the major changes taking place in this subtropical region due to significant and rapid habitat transformations, we urge the importance of considering ecological functionality in future restoration and conservation efforts in the Gran Chaco.


This article was authored by Maria E Periago, Ricardo A. Ojeda and Sandra M. Diaz. Terra-i team is grateful to Maria for sharing the details of her work.  

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