Subsidient: Fleur Damen / Wageningen University
Subsidy: S193.64

Habitat fragmentation is one of the great threats to biodiversity worldwide. To alleviate this pressure, biological corridors aiming to connect habitat fragments through a landscape of human dominated land uses are being implemented. Yet we do not understand the impact of these different land uses on habitat use by animal species. In my research I investigated the influence of different agricultural practices adjacent to a protected area on habitat use by the native mammal community, in Costa Rica. I hypothesized that adjacent cattle pastures could attract mammalian carnivores, while intensively used agricultural plantations might have a repellent effect on both prey and carnivores. Moreover, I expected that carnivore habitat use was mainly shaped by prey availability. My results showed that most species were not affected by a specific type of neighboring land use but had a negative response towards the presence of secondary forest, indicating that they prefer pristine habitat. Most species were affected by human disturbance, preferring habitats in the forest interior over habitats near the forest edge. Lastly, carnivore occupancy was best explained by prey density.