Dynamics of Primate Communities along the Santarém-Cuiabá Highway in South-Central Brazilian Amazonia

  • Stephen F. Ferrari
  • Simone Iwanaga
  • André L. Ravetta
  • Francisco C. Freitas
  • Belmira A. R. Sousa
  • Luciane L. Souza
  • Claudia G. Costa
  • Paulo E. G. Coutinho


All Neotropical primates (Platyrrhini) are highly specialized for an arboreal way of life (Hershkovitz, 1977) and rarely, if ever, come to the ground under natural conditions, despite the fact that savannas and open woodlands cover more than a third of tropical South America. It remains unclear why there are no New World ecological equivalents of the terrestrial or semi-terrestrial Old World baboons, macaques, vervets, and patas monkeys. Whatever the reasons, what is clear is that all platyrrhines are particularly vulnerable to the effects of habitat fragmentation that result from modern-day human occupation of the New World’s tropical forests. Tracts of the original vegetation are isolated from one another by open fields of pasture or crops. Distances between fragments are rarely less than a few hundred meters and are usually a number of kilometers. These conditions create effective barriers to dispersion, even for those forms, such as howlers (Alouatta) or marmosets (Callithrix) that are relatively tolerant of habitat disturbance.


Fragment Size Habitat Fragmentation Forest Fragment Spider Monkey Continuous Forest 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen F. Ferrari
    • 1
  • Simone Iwanaga
    • 1
  • André L. Ravetta
    • 2
  • Francisco C. Freitas
    • 1
  • Belmira A. R. Sousa
    • 1
  • Luciane L. Souza
    • 1
  • Claudia G. Costa
    • 1
  • Paulo E. G. Coutinho
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsUniversidade Federal do ParáBelémBrasil
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMuseu Paraense Emílio GoeldiBelémBrasil

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