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São Tomé, Sao Tome and Principe

Sole N.,Associacao Monte Pico | Alberto A.,Associacao Monte Pico | Samba S.,Associacao Monte Pico | Santana A.,Associacao Monte Pico | de Lima R.F.,Lancaster University
Ostrich | Year: 2012

The São Tomé Grosbeak Neospiza concolor is critically endangered, with an area of occurrence smaller than 16 km2 and an adult population under 50 individuals. It was previously thought to be restricted to old-growth forest in the southern lowlands of the island, but here we describe its presence at altitude over a long period, using young secondary forests and feeding on plants characteristic of disturbed areas. By extending the grosbeak's area of occurrence and what is known about its ecology, these observations raise new hope for the survival of this threatened bird. However, this new site lies outside the Ôbo Natural Park, São Tomé's only protected area, for which we alert the need to better protect its surroundings, which are relevant for many of the island's endemic species. © 2012 Copyright NISC (Pty) Ltd. Source


Carvalho M.,University of Lisbon | Fa J.E.,Imperial College London | Rego F.C.,University of Lisbon | Lima R.F.D.,University of Lisbon | And 2 more authors.
Bird Conservation International | Year: 2015

Summary Understanding the factors that determine habitat use and abundance of exploited species is essential to develop effective conservation strategies. We studied the four forest pigeons on São Tomé Island to assess the species' distribution and abundance patterns. We determined ecological factors likely to be associated with each species' use of habitats and numbers, as well as the influence of hunting pressure. In total, 35 km of line transects were surveyed in the rainy season and at the start of the dry season. Pigeons differed in their use of habitats; there were also strong seasonality effects. The most abundant species was the Lemon Dove Columba simplex, the only non-hunted species. The São Tomé Green Pigeon Treron sanctithomae and Maroon Pigeon Columba thomensis were less abundant and had more restricted ranges. Both species were strongly associated with old-growth forests. In contrast, the Bronze-naped Pigeon Columba malherbii was relatively abundant and widespread; this species favours human-altered habitats such as shade forests and non-forested areas. Fruit availability measured within the different habitats was linked with the distribution and abundance of the three hunted species. Potential human predation pressure on all species was determined from hunting signs found along the surveyed transects. There was a significant negative correlation between the abundance of two of the hunted species and hunting pressure. Our results indicate the importance of adequately protecting old-growth and secondary forests as core habitats for the survival of viable populations of all pigeon species in the island. However, control of hunting is also crucial. © 2014 BirdLife International. Source


De Lima R.F.,Lancaster University | Viegas L.,Associacao Monte Pico | Sole N.,Associacao Monte Pico | Soares E.,Associacao Monte Pico | And 3 more authors.
Biotropica | Year: 2014

Cocoa and coffee are among the most valuable tropical crops, with much of their production in areas of high biodiversity. Although this could suggest a conflict between agricultural expansion and biodiversity conservation, these crops are normally grown in shade plantations-a more biodiversity-friendly agroforestry system. Using São Tomé Island as a case study, we examined if shade plantation can benefit biodiversity by protecting extinction-prone island endemic species. We found that shade plantations held rich assemblages, even in comparison with forest: we estimated 30 bird and 74 tree species occurring in plantations compared to 24 bird and 108 tree species in forests. However, the structure of the assemblages was significantly different between ecosystems, with an average dissimilarity of 33.8 percent and 87.9 percent for birds and trees, respectively. Shade plantations had consistently less endemic species than the forest; we estimated a drop from 17 to 13 in birds and from 17 to 3 in trees. We also found that despite marked differences in the response of bird species to the vegetation characteristics of shade plantations, there was a strong positive link between aboveground tree biomass and endemic species richness and abundance. These results show that shade plantations hold assemblages impoverished in endemic species, but that management can improve their value for the conservation of these species. Finally, we suggest that biodiversity-friendly certification and carbon markets are used to implement and guarantee the long-term economical sustainability of practices that favor the endemic species in São Tomé's shade plantations. © 2014 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Source


Carvalho M.,University of Lisbon | Palmeirim J.M.,University of Lisbon | Rego F.C.,University of Lisbon | Sole N.,Associacao Monte Pico | And 3 more authors.
ORYX | Year: 2015

Hunting and invasive species are amongst the main causes of species extinctions on oceanic islands. On the island of São Tomé hunting of introduced mammals (monkeys, civets and pigs) and endemic bird species has contrasting effects in terms of conservation. Hunting of introduced mammals may benefit native fauna and flora but pressure on endemic birds poses a threat to some species. We conducted semi-structured interviews with 119 hunters to assess the relative importance of native and introduced prey species, gathering information on personal profiles, preference and practice, and hunters' perceptions of trends in prey populations. Eleven species were hunted, including five invasive mammals and five endemic birds of high conservation importance. Based on species hunted, techniques used and final destination of the quarry we distinguished three groups of hunters, using cluster analyses: bird, monkey and feral-pig hunters. Bird hunters were all from urban areas but most pig hunters were rural. Monkey hunters were mostly rural workers but a small proportion were from urban areas. Bird and monkey hunters were primarily motivated by commercial gains but they also hunted for enjoyment and food. In general, hunting of mammals is an opportunistic activity that, if regulated, can be sustainable and contribute to mitigating the effects of invasive species on local fauna as well contributing to local livelihoods. Given the economic drivers involved in hunting of birds, intervention to reduce or eliminate this form of hunting will require enforcement of legislation and raising awareness of the issues involved. Copyright © Fauna & Flora International 2014. Source

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