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OrangutansGeographic Variation in Behavioral Ecology and Conservation$
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Serge A. Wich, S Suci Utami Atmoko, Tatang Mitra Setia, and Carel P. van Schaik

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199213276

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213276.001.0001

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Orangutan distribution, density, abundance and impacts of disturbance

Orangutan distribution, density, abundance and impacts of disturbance

Chapter:
(p.77) CHAPTER 6 Orangutan distribution, density, abundance and impacts of disturbance
Source:
Orangutans
Author(s):

Simon J. Husson

Serge A. Wich

Andrew J. Marshall

Rona D. Dennis

Marc Ancrenaz

Rebecca Brassey

Melvin Gumal

Andrew J. Hearn

Erik Meijaard

Togu Simorangkir

Ian Singleton

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199213276.003.0006

Knowledge of the density and distribution of the endangered orangutan is essential both for their conservation and to identify ecological factors that limit their population size. The authors of this chapter collated orangutan density estimates from 110 locations throughout their range, standardized these for differences in survey design and categorized each location using broad descriptions of the habitats present and the degree of logging disturbance. They found that orangutan density is higher in Sumatra than Borneo, as expected, but found no difference in density between subspecies in Borneo, which suggests that Pongo pygmaeus morio has evolved adaptations to cope with food scarcity in eastern Borneo. The authors of this chapter found support for the hypothesis that orangutan densities are higher in sites with less extreme periods of food shortage, by demonstrating that sites with a mosaic of different habitat types support significantly higher densities than those with only a single habitat type present. Orangutan density declines significantly with altitude in Borneo but the authors of this chapter did not find this relationship for Sumatra, although this may be due to other underlying factors. Heavy logging disturbance has a severe negative effect on density but light logging carried out by well-managed selective logging operations appears to have no effect on orangutan density. The chapter discusses the implications of these findings for orangutan conservation.

Keywords:   orangutan density, orangutan distribution, food scarcity, logging operations, effects of logging, habitat preferences

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