Domestic dog invasion in an agroforestry mosaic in southern Bahia, Brazil

Although the value of agroforests for biodiversity conservation has been frequently highlighted, little is known about the susceptibility of this production system to biological invasions. Drawing on a camera-trap dataset obtained in 39 sites in an agroforestry mosaic in southern Bahia, Brazil, we investigated whether the conversion of native forests into agroforests and management intensification in agroforests favor the invasion by the most common carnivore worldwide, the domestic dog. We also examined whether domestic dog invasion is more associated with human activity in agroforests than in native forests. While the number of invading dogs was higher in agroforests than in native forests (11 compared to 7 dogs per site), management intensification in agroforests led to a higher mean number of visits per dog. In both habitats (not only agroforests) visits by domestic dogs tended to be concentrated on times of the day (around midday) and days of the week (Monday to Saturday) when there is greater human activity. Despite being permeable to native species, agroforests may act as sink or trap areas given their higher susceptibility to invasion, potentially limiting the value of this production system for biodiversity conservation. Moreover, local management intensification, which has been expanding worldwide, increases the intensity of such invasions, further decreasing the value of agroforests. The value of agroforestry mosaics for conservation thus depends on the management of invasive species and at least in the case of dogs, one of the most common and widely distributed invasive species, this management should focus on the habits and behavior of humans.

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