Habitat fragmentation and the desiccation of forest canopies: a case study from eastern Amazonia

Briant, Gaël, Gond, Valéry, and Laurance, Susan G.W. (2010) Habitat fragmentation and the desiccation of forest canopies: a case study from eastern Amazonia. Biological Conservation, 143 (11). pp. 2763-2769.

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Abstract

Across the deforestation frontier in eastern Amazonia, we examined the relationship between edge-related forest desiccation and deforestation patterns using remote-sensing techniques. Canopy-moisture levels were estimated over an eight-year period in three study sites that encompassed not, vert, similar100,000 km2 in area. We found four main effects of deforestation on dry-season canopy desiccation. First, intact forests showed no detectable change in canopy water content whereas forests adjacent to clearings showed significant water loss. Second, the distance to which edge-related desiccation penetrated into forest interiors varied among landscapes with differing forest loss and fragmentation. In moderately fragmented landscapes (with 65% and 51% remaining forest cover), canopy desiccation extended 1–1.5 km into forest interiors, whereas in heavily fragmented landscapes (20% forest cover) desiccation penetrated up to 2.7 km into forests. Third, the magnitude of edge-related desiccation varied among landscapes with differing fragmentation. Moderately fragmented landscapes exhibited a greater magnitude of change in canopy-water loss over the first 1 km from an edge than did heavily fragmented landscapes. Finally, forest desiccation penetrated further into forests over time in the moderately fragmented landscapes, but not in the heavily fragmented landscape, where edge-related desiccation had evidently ‘saturated’ remaining forests. We conclude that protracted dry seasons will have far more serious effects on fragmented than intact rainforests, with the former becoming highly vulnerable to destructive fires. With not, vert, similar30,000 km of new forest edge being created annually in Brazilian Amazonia, these finding have serious implications for forest conservation.

Item ID: 11954
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Amazon rainforest; canopy desiccation; deforestation; drought; edge effects; habitat fragmentation; fire-prone; remote sensing; water stress
ISSN: 1873-2917
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2010 23:03
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050104 Landscape Ecology @ 60%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 40%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 50%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 13
Downloads: Total: 3
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