HABITAT USE OF FOUR TERRESTRIAL CARNIVORES IN SOUTHERN CHILE

Resumen:
The process of landscape transformation has been more intense and extended in the central depression of central and southern Chile than in the nearby mountain ranges. The original forest cover has almost disappeared; only small fragments persist inserted into a matrix of agroecosystems. This situation may influence the distribution of carnivorous mammals, depending on their degree of habitat specialization and home range size. The goal of this study was to evaluate, through the study of feces dsitribution, the habitat selection of the carnivore assemblage in a fragmented environment in southern Chile. We document the selective use of exotic forest plantations of Pinus radiata with a scrub understory by Puma concolor, Galictis cuja, and Lycalopex griseus. Leopardus guigna, despite not showing a statistically significant selection of the native forest, presents a greater number of records in this type of habitat. Habitat selection by the predators studied shows a variable degree of use of altered and fragmented environments. Surrounding forest plantations present an understory of native vegetation, which fits the requirement of most of the carnivores. The levels of spatial overlapping and the adequacy to new environments are discussed.

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