Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth's ecosystems

Haddad, Nick M., Brudvig, Lars A., Clobert, Jean, Davies, Kendi F., Gonzalez, Andrew, Holt, Robert D., Lovejoy, Thomas E., Sexton, Joseph O., Austin, Mike P., Collins, Cathy D., Cook, William M., Damschen, Ellen I., Ewers, Robert M., Foster, Bryan L., Jenkins, Clinton N., King, Andrew J., Laurance, William F., Levey, Douglas J., Margules, Chris R., Melbourne, Brett A., Nicholls, A.O., Orrock, John L., Song, Dan-Xia, and Townshend, John R. (2015) Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth's ecosystems. Science Advances, 1 (2). e1500052. pp. 1-9.

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Abstract

We conducted an analysis of global forest cover to reveal that 70% of remaining forest is within 1 km of the forest's edge, subject to the degrading effects of fragmentation. A synthesis of fragmentation experiments spanning multiple biomes and scales, five continents, and 35 years demonstrates that habitat fragmentation reduces biodiversity by 13 to 75% and impairs key ecosystem functions by decreasing biomass and altering nutrient cycles. Effects are greatest in the smallest and most isolated fragments, and they magnify with the passage of time. These findings indicate an urgent need for conservation and restoration measures to improve landscape connectivity, which will reduce extinction rates and help maintain ecosystem services.

Item ID: 38207
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2375-2548
Keywords: biodiversity, ecosystem dynamics, experimental studies, extinction, habitat fragmentation, long-term research
Additional Information:

© This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: European Research Council (ERC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Canada Research Chair programme, Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science, CAPES Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Education, University of Florida Foundation, ANR Infrastructure (AI), Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kansas Biological Survey and National Science Foundation (NSF)
Projects and Grants: ERC Project number 281986, AI grant AnaEE-France
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2015 04:57
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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