Research by a UNBC PhD candidate shows that it’s not just primary habitats that are important for conservation.
Juan Ramirez’s research has looked at the importance of “matrix habitat” in conservation. It describes matrix habitat as the habitats surrounding an animal’s primary habitat.
“It’s what we leave behind after habitat loss,” Ramirez explained.
He used the habitat of a Jaguar as an example.
“They live in tropical rainforests, I’m from Colombia, for example, we have cattle ranching, something that has a big impact on our ecosystems,” Ramirez said.
“Over time, habitat is lost for jaguars, we lose trees, we lose habitat where these animals live.”
“There are matrix environments that these types of species can use, sometimes they go there because they can find prey that they can hunt or get food.”
Ramirez said he was looking to learn more about the matrix’s impact on species extinction risk, with a focus on mammals.
“What I’m showing here is that even though we have an effect on species extinction risk, we can see now that if we have these kinds of human activities around primary habitat, they’re not not very bad.”
As an example, Ramirez says that if a coffee plantation has trees, animals can use them.
“We can use this type of environment for our own use, but some other species can use it as well,” Ramirez explained.