Deforestation and knowledge gaps threaten conservation of less charismatic species: Status of the arboreal squirrels of Mexico

Nicolás Ramos-Lara, John L. Koprowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

The status of the arboreal squirrels of Mexico was analyzed as a model taxon to elucidate the urgent need that exists worldwide to allocate more funding and research effort to less charismatic species. To accomplish this, we surveyed the literature to review their diversity and present distribution, state of scientific knowledge, and conservation status. We also examined diversity patterns and threats to their persistence. There are currently 14 recognized species, of which four are endemic to the country, with the states of Chiapas and San Luis Potosí possessing the greatest diversity. Presently, seven species are federally listed under some category of risk in Mexico. Our survey yielded only 37 peer-reviewed publications, revealing that a critical dearth of information still exists on the arboreal squirrels of Mexico. We found that states with a greater diversity of arboreal squirrels also have a higher annual wood production, possibly posing a serious threat to their persistence. A common threat to all species is habitat loss caused by deforestation with annual rates >1.0% in the country. Like other less charismatic species in the world, information from local populations is needed to establish suitable regional plans to conserve species facing specific anthropogenic threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-427
Number of pages11
JournalMammalia
Volume78
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014

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Keywords

  • Arboreal squirrels
  • Charismatic species
  • Conservation status
  • Habitat loss
  • Mexico

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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