Evaluation of minimum viable population size and conservation status of the long-furred woolly mouse opossum : An endemic marsupial of the Atlantic ForestMicoureus paraguayanus: An endemic marsupial of the Atlantic Forest

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Abstract

A population viability analysis (PVA) using the computer package VORTEX was conducted to assess the minimum viable population (MVP) of the Atlantic Forest endemic marsupial Micoureus paraguayanus. The objectives were: to estimate demographic and genetic MVPs that could be used as quasi-extinction thresholds for future modeling, to estimate the minimum area of suitable habitat (MASH), and to use these results to apply IUCN red list criteria so as to suggest its proper status classification. The model predicted that populations of 100 and 2000 individuals were necessary to achieve demographic and genetic stability, respectively, within a time frame of 100 years. The model was sensitive to changes in inbreeding depression, mortality and reproduction. MASH estimated to contain genetically viable populations reached 1300 ha. Fortunately, there still are quite a number of forest remnants equal to or larger than this. Isolation is suggested as the principal threat facing M. paraguayanus. Therefore, promoting conditions for dispersal together with efforts dealing with translocation, should prove to be the most appropriate management strategies for M. paraguayanus at this stage. A landscape pattern composed of large patches holding MVPs and sets of smaller patches harboring viable metapopulations that maximize probability of dispersal can provide a viable scenario for the conservation of M. paraguayanus.

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