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Responses of animals to habitat alteration
Courtesy of Christoph Schwitzer

This Theme Section of ESR looks into animals' responses to habitat alteration (degradation, fragmentation, agricultural use, restoration), with a focus on primates. Original habitat of animal species is being destroyed at an accelerating rate. This is usually associated with an alteration of the remaining habitat, which becomes degraded and/or fragmented. In many regions, forests are cleared to make way for plantations or other agricultural use, and animal species are forced to coexist with humans. In some countries, forests are in the process of being restored for wildlife. As even long-established and well protected areas typically comprise mosaics of habitats with different degrees of degradation, the future conservation of many species will depend on the capacity of such altered habitats to support their populations. During the last 15 years, more and more studies have addressed the way that different species respond to the human-induced change of their habitats. These responses are varied and range from population decline to adaptation and development of new behavioural strategies. Whereas some species heavily rely on intact primary forests, others can adapt to secondary forests and forest-agriculture mosaics. Habitat change has been shown to affect many aspects of the ecology and behaviour of animals. Changes in dietary composition and diversity, population density, group size and adult sex ratio in groups are some examples. This special issue aims at reviewing the existing knowledge on how animals, and particularly primates, respond to the alteration of their habitat.


All manuscripts were fully peer-reviewed and published with online open access.


Articles belonging to this Theme Section were published in the current ESR issue as soon as they became ready. They are listed below as well as on the contents page of the respective issue.


Editors: Giovanni Bearzi, Jörg Ganzhorn, Luca Luiselli, Anna Nekaris, Christoph Schwitzer, William Wallace




Schwitzer C, Glatt L, Nekaris KAI, Ganzhorn JU

OVERVIEW: Responses of animals to habitat alteration: an overview focussing on primates

ESR 14:31-38 | Full text in pdf format



Salvadeo CJ, Lluch-Belda D, Gómez-Gallardo A, Urbán-Ramírez J, MacLeod CD

Climate change and a poleward shift in the distribution of the Pacific white-sided dolphin in the northeastern Pacific

ESR 11:13-19 | Full text in pdf format



Hastie LC, Tarr EC, al-Mousawi B, Young MR

Medium-term recruitment patterns in Scottish freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera populations

ESR 11:21-33 | Full text in pdf format



Raharivololona BM, Ganzhorn JU

Seasonal variations in gastrointestinal parasites excreted by the gray mouse lemur Microcebus murinus in Madagascar

ESR 11:113-122 | Full text in pdf format



Guillera-Arroita G, Lahoz-Monfort JJ, Milner-Gulland EJ, Young RP, Nicholson E

Using occupancy as a state variable for monitoring the Critically Endangered Alaotran gentle lemur Hapalemur alaotrensis

ESR 11:157-166 | Full text in pdf format



Shedden-González A, Rodríguez-Luna E

Responses of a translocated howler monkey Alouatta palliata group to new environmental conditions

ESR 12:25-30 | Full text in pdf format



Esque TC, Nussear KE, Drake KK, Walde AD, Berry KH, Averill-Murray RC, Woodman AP, Boarman WI, Medica PA, Mack J, Heaton JS

Effects of subsidized predators, resource variability, and human population density on desert tortoise populations in the Mojave Desert, USA

ESR 12:167-177 | Full text in pdf format



Schwitzer N, Clough D, Zahner H, Kaumanns W, Kappeler P, Schwitzer C

Parasite prevalence in blue-eyed black lemurs Eulemur flavifrons in differently degraded forest fragments

ESR 12:215-225 | Full text in pdf format



Moore RS, Nekaris KAI, Eschmann C

Habitat use by western purple-faced langurs Trachypithecus vetulus nestor (Colobinae) in a fragmented suburban landscape

ESR 12:227-234 | Full text in pdf format



Link A, de Luna AG, Alfonso F, Giraldo-Beltran P, Ramirez F

Initial effects of fragmentation on the density of three neotropical primate species in two lowland forests of Colombia

ESR 13:41–50 | Full text in pdf format