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      Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems

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          Abstract

          Urgent need for conservation and restoration measures to improve landscape connectivity.

          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.

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          Most cited references64

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          Tropical deforestation and habitat fragmentation in the Amazon: satellite data from 1978 to 1988.

          Landsat satellite imagery covering the entire forested portion of the Brazilian Amazon Basin was used to measure, for 1978 and 1988, deforestation, fragmented forest, defined as areas less than 100 square kilometers surrounded by deforestation, and edge effects of 1 kilometer into forest from adjacent areas of deforestation. Tropical deforestation increased from 78,000 square kilometers in 1978 to 230,000 square kilometers in 1988 while tropical forest habitat, severely affected with respect to biological diversity, increased from 208,000 to 588,000 square kilometers. Although this rate of deforestation is lower than previous estimates, the effect on biological diversity is greater.
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            Interactive effects of habitat modification and species invasion on native species decline.

            Different components of global environmental change are often studied and managed independently, but mounting evidence points towards complex non-additive interaction effects between drivers of native species decline. Using the example of interactions between land-use change and biotic exchange, we develop an interpretive framework that will enable global change researchers to identify and discriminate between major interaction pathways. We formalise a distinction between numerically mediated versus functionally moderated causal pathways. Despite superficial similarity of their effects, numerical and functional pathways stem from fundamentally different mechanisms of action and have fundamentally different consequences for conservation management. Our framework is a first step toward building a better quantitative understanding of how interactions between drivers might mitigate or exacerbate the net effects of global environmental change on biotic communities in the future.
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              New paradigms for supporting the resilience of marine ecosystems.

              Resource managers and scientists from disparate disciplines are rising to the challenge of understanding and moderating human impacts on marine ecosystems. Traditional barriers to communication between marine ecologists, fisheries biologists, social scientists and economists are beginning to break down, and the distinction between applied and basic research is fading. These ongoing trends arise, in part, from an increasing awareness of the profound influence of people on the functioning of all marine ecosystems, an increased focus on spatial and temporal scale, and a renewed assessment of the role of biodiversity in the sustainability of ecosystem goods and services upon which human societies depend. Here, we highlight the emergence of a complex systems approach for sustaining and repairing marine ecosystems, linking ecological resilience to governance structures, economics and society.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                SciAdv
                advances
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                2375-2548
                March 2015
                20 March 2015
                : 1
                : 2
                : e1500052
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Biological Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
                [2 ]Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824–1312, USA.
                [3 ]Station d’Ecologie Expérimentale du CNRS a Moulis USR 2936, Moulis, 09200 Saint-Girons, France.
                [4 ]Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCB 334, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
                [5 ]Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec H3A 1B1, Canada.
                [6 ]Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA.
                [7 ]Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.
                [8 ]Global Land Cover Facility, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20702, USA.
                [9 ]CSIRO Land and Water Flagship, GPO Box 1700, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601, Australia.
                [10 ]Department of Biology, Colby College, 5746 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 04901, USA.
                [11 ]Department of Biological Sciences, St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, MN 56301, USA.
                [12 ]Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.
                [13 ]Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London, Silwood Park Campus, Buckhurst Road, Ascot, Berkshire SL5 7PY, UK.
                [14 ]Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Kansas Biological Survey, University of Kansas, 2101 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66047–3759, USA.
                [15 ]Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, Rod. Dom Pedro I, km 47, Caixa Postal 47, Nazaré Paulista, São Paulo 12960-000, Brazil.
                [16 ]Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science and College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland 4878, Australia.
                [17 ]National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA 22230, USA.
                [18 ]Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Cairns 4878, Australia.
                [19 ]Research Center for Climate Change, University of Indonesia, Kota Depok, Java Barat 16424, Indonesia.
                [20 ]The Institute for Land, Water and Society, Charles Sturt University, Thurgoona Campus, Albury, New South Wales 2640, Australia.
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. E-mail: nick_haddad@ 123456ncsu.edu
                Article
                1500052
                10.1126/sciadv.1500052
                4643828
                26601154
                186cc698-5d11-4e64-8752-5ea37d17db66
                Copyright © 2015, The Authors

                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.

                History
                : 15 January 2015
                : 17 February 2015
                Categories
                Research Article
                Research Articles
                SciAdv r-articles
                Ecology
                Applied Ecology
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