An arboreal mammal of Los Tuxtlas forest, Mexico
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"The burgeoning human population in rural tropical regions has accelerated fragmentation of natural habitats, posing particular risk to tropical rain forests. This is the case of the Los Tuxtlas forest in Veracruz, Mexico where almost 87% of the original forest area has been lost. Remaining remnants persist as archipelagoes of often very small forest fragments. My research tests how forest fragmentation affects plant species dynamics by studying Poulsenia armata (Moraceae), a widespread tropical tree. This photograph was taken as part of my long-term study in order to assess the role that small mammals have on this tree species. It is believed that small mammals could be experiencing less competition in the forest fragments, therefore increasing seed predation and affecting the persistence of the plant species that they eat. The picture shows an arboreal mammal (Tylomys nudicaudus) that is very rare in this region. The presence of this small mammal is significant to my study because it not only illustrates the possible seed predators of the Moraceae tree species, but also indicates the role of the remaining fauna in the fragmented forest."