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Environmental Impact

From climate change to biodiversity loss - documenting human impacts on the environment

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CABI Book Chapter

Global forest fragmentation.

Book cover for Global forest fragmentation.


This book with 10 chapters (following an Introduction) covers the major questions of forest fragmentation as general questions affecting the world's forest biodiversity, ecosystem function and ecosystem services. These are not merely case studies from particular places in the world, confirming what we already know. Rather, these are carefully selected topics that provide a broad overview of the ma...

Chapter 8 (Page no: 96)

Forest fragmentation and ecosystem function.

Urbanization and the spread of agriculture have resulted in high levels of forest loss and fragmentation in many regions of the world. The impact of this anthropogenic fragmentation on ecological functioning has been poorly studied. This chapter assesses the responses of selected plant- and animal-mediated processes to forest fragmentation. Although the number of studies concentrating on different processes is highly variable, with some processes (e.g. nutrient cycling and dung removal) being relatively better studied than others (e.g. predation and parasitism), tentative general insights from recent research include the following: (i) the severity and direction of fragmentation effects are influenced by the individual species involved, the environment and other contributory factors (e.g. surrounding matrix habitat quality); (ii) while processes heavily influenced by larger species are likely to respond negatively to fragmentation, others influenced by a wider range of biotic and abiotic factors are less predictable; (iii) trophic cascades may result in the impacts on one trophic level affecting other parts of the ecosystem; and (iv) the impacts of fragmentation are often exacerbated by synergistic effects such as interactions with the matrix and increased hunting pressures within fragments. Understanding the nature of ecosystem functioning and how functioning becomes disrupted with habitat conversion by combining spatial network models and long-term experimental studies will allow us to predict the eventual trajectories of ecosystems and determine possible remedial actions to preserve healthy functioning ecosystems.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Global forest fragmentation: introduction. Author(s): Kettle, C. J. Koh, L. P.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 5) The history of deforestation and forest fragmentation: a global perspective. Author(s): Bhagwat, S.
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 20) Contemporary drivers of habitat fragmentation. Author(s): Laurance, W. F.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 28) Forest fragmentation and biodiversity conservation in human-dominated landscapes. Author(s): Döbert, T. F. Webber, B. L. Barnes, A. D. Dickinson, K. J. M. Didham, R. K.
Chapter: 5 (Page no: 50) Forest fragmentation genetics: what can genetics tell us about forest fragmentation? Author(s): Finger, A. Radespiel, U. Habel, J. C. Kettle, C. J.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 69) Forest fragmentation and climate change. Author(s): Corlett, R. T.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 79) Forest islands in an agricultural sea. Author(s): Klein, A. M. Boreux, V. Bauhus, J. Chappell, M. J. Fischer, J. Philpott, S. M.
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 115) Beyond the mirror: tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on rural livelihoods. Author(s): Garcia, C. A. Feintrenie, L.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 132) Governance failures and the fragmentation of tropical forests. Author(s): Barr, C. Barney, K. Laird, S. A.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 158) Future forests: fantasy or façade? A synthesis. Author(s): Kettle, C. J. Harrison, R. Koh, L. P.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2014
  • ISBN
  • 9781780642031
  • Record Number
  • 20143317943