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Gettysburg College

Publication Date

Fall 12-5-2014

Program Name

Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems, and Biodiversity Conservation


Deforestation of tropical forest for agricultural purposes threatens habitat loss of native species. The value of various agricultural landscapes in conserving avian populations is useful in determining diversity-conscious development plans. However, generalized results from regionalscale studies cannot be implemented to insular avian habitats. This study serves as the only current avian diversity study of the Chiriquí Highlands. To determine the effect of agricultural land use within an insular avian habitat, I compared avian diversity and site population similarity in Guadalupe, Chiriquí Highlands of the Talamanca Range, Panama. I hypothesized that avian diversity is greatest at forest edge followed by forest corridor and pasture sites. Standard fixed point-counts were used across three sites: contiguous forest edge, cultivated land with minimal shrubby cover, and forest corridor. In total 734 birds, 44 species, and 21 endemic species were recorded. Avian diversity was greatest at the forest edge followed by forest corridor and pasture, respectively. Many endemic and threatened species were recorded at the highest frequency at edge habitats. While both pasture and corridor sites supported nearly equal amounts of endemic species, forest corridor sustained higher species richness. This study suggests that Finca (small farm) owners within Guadalupe should maximize forest edge and bound property limitations with forest corridors. This study reveals the need for more extensive study of Guadalupian bird populations and landscapes.


Biodiversity | Geography | International and Area Studies | Latin American Studies | Ornithology | Physical and Environmental Geography


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