The Business Expansion of Northeast Brazil Endangers Nonhuman Primate Cultures

Authors: Kathleen Stafford*, Salisbury University - Salisbury, MD, Andrea Presotto, Salisbury University
Topics: Remote Sensing
Keywords: Mangroves, Capuchin Monkey, Coastal Management, Mapitoba, Remote Sensing
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Brazilian mangroves, once held as unproductive lands in the northeast of the country, are now being considered as land available for a government program targeting land development in the region. Mangroves are included in the areas for federal incentives to improve agribusiness and implement clean energy infrastructure in the region denominated “Mapitoba” (states of Maranhao, Piaui, Tocantins, and Bahia). Expanding these areas for investment threatens the mangrove ecosystems, which are host to rare mammal species. Our main goal is to elucidate how the land cover changes in the area are fragmenting mangrove forests and affecting the rare species of crab-catching and mangrove-inhabiting capuchin monkeys. The bearded capuchins catch crabs and crack them open using wood as hammers and tree trunks as anvils. This localized behavior is the result of the unique ecological opportunities presented by the mangrove habitat where the capuchins live. We hypothesized that since the 1980s mangroves are becoming increasingly fragmented due to rapid sand movement occurring faster than normal and increased by human influence in the region. We conducted a spatial-temporal analysis via remote sensing to quantify trends in land conversion over the past quarter-century. We used Landsat images from 1987, 2000, and 2017, GIS, unsupervised and supervised classification to conduct the analysis. Preliminary results showed mangrove area in our study site decreased by 3.2% and bare soil area increased by 9.2%. With disorganized expansion of development, mangrove forests will most likely become fragmented. This process will affect the capuchin monkey habitat and the entire coastal ecosystem.

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