Impacts of habitat fragmentation and linear clearings on Australian rainforest biota

Laurance, William F., and Goosem, Miriam (2008) Impacts of habitat fragmentation and linear clearings on Australian rainforest biota. In: Stork, Nigel E., and Turton, Stephen M., (eds.) Living in a Dynamic Tropical Forest Landscape. Blackwell Publishing, Carlton, VIC, Australia, pp. 295-306.

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[Extract] Tropical forests are being destroyed and degraded at alarming rates (Achard et al. 2002; Hansen & DeFries 2004; Laurance & Peres 2006). The most common aftermath of large-scale forest conversion is a mosaic of relict forest fragments encircled by modified habitats, such as cattle pastures, soya and sugarcane farms, oil-palm plantations, slash-and-burn farming plots or scrubby regrowth. In addition, many internal clearings, such as highways, roads, power lines and gas lines, perforate surviving forest tracts. Hence, the tropical world is becoming ever smaller, more subdivided and further degraded by a range of external and internal disturbances (Goosem 1997; Laurance & Bierregaard 1997; Peres et al. 2006).

Although tropical rainforests comprise but a tiny fraction «0.2%) of the total land area in Australia, they are enormously important reservoirs of biological diversity and endemism, with a remarkably long evolutionary history that harkens back to the time when Australia was still part of Gondwana. As such, these forests are of exceptional international significance (Keto & Scott 1986; WTMA2004). This, in concert with the development of world-leading tropical researchers in Australia, has led to impressive advances in conservation-related research, especially within the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area (WHA) under the aegis of the Cooperative Research Centre for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management.

Item ID: 7412
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-5643-1
Keywords: road ecology; habitat fragmentation; rainforest; linear clearing impacts; conservation corridors; barrier, edge effects
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2010 03:31
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060208 Terrestrial Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960506 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Fresh, Ground and Surface Water Environments @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 30%
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