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Implications of Intratropical Migration on Reserve Design: A Case Study Using Pharomachrus mocinno
George V. N. Powell and Robin Bjork
Vol. 9, No. 2 (Apr., 1995), pp. 354-362
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2386779
Page Count: 9
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As habitat loss continues, natural protected areas will become islands in human-modified landscapes; maintenance of functional communities and ecosystems will depend on properly designed protected areas. We demonstrate that incorporating regional habitat linkages that allow for seasonal migrations of intratropical resident species must be a major design criterion for establishing protected areas. Using radio-telemetry, we monitored the seasonal movements of one such migrant, the Resplendent Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno), a large, frugivorous bird, one of many tropical residents known to migrate altitudinally within Mesoamerica. Based on three years of data we determined that quetzals followed a complicated local migration that linked four montane life zones. Using this species as an indicator revealed that the configuration of the Monteverde reserve complex in the Tilaran Mountains in west-central Costa Rica lacked sufficient habitat distribution to conserve montane biodiversity. On the basis of these results, we propose that the three-step process proposed by Soule and Simberloff (1986) for estimating minimum sizes of reserves be amended to include a fourth step: The critical habitats used throughout the annual cycles of target or keystone species must be identified and adequately protected. Natural protected areas can be considered adequately designed only when sufficient area with a full complement of ecologically linked habitats is included.
Conservation Biology © 1995 Wiley