Effects of habitat fragmentation on bird communities of sand forests in southern Mozambique

16 May 2007

We investigated the influence of forest fragment size and isolation on the bird assemblages in the species- and endemic-rich sand forests of the Maputaland Centre of Endemism, southern Mozambique. Point centre surveys were conducted across 12 sand forest patches that varied in size and isolation. Patch size and isolation had little influence on bird species richness, but the number of individuals decreased significantly with increasing isolation. Furthermore, bird abundances were correlated to a combination of the size and isolation of patches. Many forest specialists, in particular large-bodied frugivores, were highly sensitive to reduced patch size and increased distances between patches. Further fragmentation of the landscape may therefore impair the ability of these forests to support viable populations of forest specialists.