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A review of the application of canopy bridges in the conservation of primates and other arboreal animals across Brazil

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journal contribution
posted on 14.11.2022, 11:14 authored by Fernanda Zimmermann Teixeira, Lucas Gonçalves da Silva, Fernanda Abra, Clarissa Rosa, Gerson Buss, Marcello Guerreiro, Edson Rodrigues Costa, Aline Souza de Menezes Medeiros, Marcelo Gordo, Helio Secco

Brazil is known as a high biodiversity country, but at the same time, it has an extensive road network that threatens its wildlife and ecosystems. The impacts of roads and railways on vertebrates have been documented extensively, and the discussion concerning the implementation of mitigation measures for terrestrial wildlife has increased in the last decade. Arboreal animals are especially affected by the direct loss of individuals due to animal-vehicle collisions and by the barrier effect, because most arboreal species, especially the strictly arboreal ones, avoid going down to the ground to move across the landscape. Here we summarize and review information on existing canopy bridges across Brazil, considering artificial and natural canopy bridge initiatives implemented mainly on road and railway projects. A total of 151 canopy bridges were identified across the country, 112 of which are human-made structures of different materials, while the remaining 39 are natural canopy bridges. We found canopy bridges in three of the six biomes, with higher numbers in the Atlantic Forest and Amazon, the most forested biomes. Most of the canopy bridges are in protected areas (76%) and primates are the most common target taxa for canopy bridge implementation. Our study is the first biogeographic mapping and review of canopy bridges for arboreal wildlife conservation in a megadiverse country. We synthesize the available knowledge concerning canopy bridges in Brazil and highlight gaps that should be addressed by future research and monitoring projects.  

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