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Distribution of birds along an elevational gradient in the Atlantic forest of Brazil: Implications for the conservation of endemic and endangered species

Distribution of birds along an elevational gradient in the Atlantic forest of Brazil: Implications for the conservation of endemic and endangered species

Bird Conservation International 9(3): 235-253

In this study I compare bird communities along an elevational gradient in an Atlantic forest remnant (Pico do Corcovado in Ubatuba) in coastal Sao Paulo state, Brazil. Forests at low elevations are structurally more complex and more diverse in plant species than those along the slopes and at higher elevations in this remnant. Consequently it is hypothesized that low elevation forests contain a greater diversity of bird species. Results from the study in the Corcovado area show clear differences in the distribution of forest birds along the elevational gradient from both qualitative and quantitative aspects. The structurally more complex forest at low elevations contains the most diverse avifauna, including several of the rarest and most threatened species. The importance of this remnant as a whole is apparent due to the high diversity observed (254 species), the high proportion of endemic species, and the extent to which the avifauna is endangered. Protection of forests at all elevations along the Serra do Mar is required to maintain diversity of bird species, particularly the many endemic and endangered species restricted to specific elevations.

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Accession: 010484236

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DOI: 10.1017/s0959270900003439

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