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ESR 30:133-143 (2016)  -  DOI:

Population mapping of gibbons in Kalimantan, Indonesia: correlates of gibbon density and vegetation across the species’ range

Susan M. Cheyne1,2,3,4,5,*, Lauren J. Gilhooly4, Marie C. Hamard1, Andrea Höing1,2, Peter R. Houlihan2,6,10, Kursani2, Brent Loken7, Abigail Phillips1, Yaya Rayadin8, Bernat Ripoll Capilla1, Dominic Rowland2, Wiwit Juwita Sastramidjaja1, Stephanie Spehar9, Claire J. H. Thompson1, Michal Zrust2

1Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project, Jalan Semeru No. 91, Bukit Hindu, Palangka Raya, Indonesia
2BRINCC C/O Flat 2, 11 The Avenue, Hitchin, Herts SG4 9RJ, UK
3Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), Department of Zoology, Oxford University, The Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, Abingdon Road, Tubney OX13 5QL, UK
4Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK
5School of Anthropology and Conservation, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent CT2 7NR, UK
6Department of Behavioral Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
7Integrated Conservation, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC V6B 5K3, Canada
8Forestry Department, Mulawarman University, Kampus Gunung Jl. KH. Dewantara, Samarinda 75116, East Kalimantan, Indonesia
9Department of Religious Studies & Anthropology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI 54901, USA
10Present address: Department of Biology & Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The first comprehensive survey of gibbons (Hylobates spp.) across Indonesian Borneo was carried out over 3 years to (1) determine whether densities of gibbon species are correlated with vegetation characteristics, and if so, whether the same characteristics are correlated with density across all forest types; and (2) determine population densities in the survey areas and identify threats to the areas. To achieve this, a total of 8 forest blocks were surveyed, involving 53 independent survey locations and repeat surveys in 3 forest blocks. Our data show that gibbons are ubiquitous where there is forest; however, the quality of forest affects population density, forest block size affects longevity of populations, and populations are susceptible to the ‘compression effect’, i.e. populations occupy smaller fragments at unsustainably high densities. We show the effects of forest disturbance (logging, fire, fragmentation) on gibbon distribution and density and highlight issues for long-term conservation. We discuss the use of minimum cross-sectional area, habitat variables and presence of top foods to determine population density and to identify a threshold below which gibbons cannot persist. We discuss the conservation issues facing all Bornean gibbons, including natural hybrids (H. muelleri × H. albibarbis). The answers to these research questions will help mitigate threats to gibbons and their habitat, as well as identify key habitat for gibbon populations within and outside the protected area network.

KEY WORDS: Hylobates · Gibbons · Survey methods · Triangulation · Conservation · Habitat · Density

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Cite this article as: Cheyne SM, Gilhooly LJ, Hamard MC, Höing A and others (2016) Population mapping of gibbons in Kalimantan, Indonesia: correlates of gibbon density and vegetation across the species’ range. Endang Species Res 30:133-143.

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