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      Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems

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


          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 references 77

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          High-resolution global maps of 21st-century forest cover change.

          Quantification of global forest change has been lacking despite the recognized importance of forest ecosystem services. In this study, Earth observation satellite data were used to map global forest loss (2.3 million square kilometers) and gain (0.8 million square kilometers) from 2000 to 2012 at a spatial resolution of 30 meters. The tropics were the only climate domain to exhibit a trend, with forest loss increasing by 2101 square kilometers per year. Brazil's well-documented reduction in deforestation was offset by increasing forest loss in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, and elsewhere. Intensive forestry practiced within subtropical forests resulted in the highest rates of forest change globally. Boreal forest loss due largely to fire and forestry was second to that in the tropics in absolute and proportional terms. These results depict a globally consistent and locally relevant record of forest change.
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            Effects of Habitat Fragmentation on Biodiversity

             Lenore Fahrig (2003)
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              Solutions for a cultivated planet.

              Increasing population and consumption are placing unprecedented demands on agriculture and natural resources. Today, approximately a billion people are chronically malnourished while our agricultural systems are concurrently degrading land, water, biodiversity and climate on a global scale. To meet the world's future food security and sustainability needs, food production must grow substantially while, at the same time, agriculture's environmental footprint must shrink dramatically. Here we analyse solutions to this dilemma, showing that tremendous progress could be made by halting agricultural expansion, closing 'yield gaps' on underperforming lands, increasing cropping efficiency, shifting diets and reducing waste. Together, these strategies could double food production while greatly reducing the environmental impacts of agriculture.

                Author and article information

                Sci Adv
                Sci Adv
                Science Advances
                American Association for the Advancement of Science
                March 2015
                20 March 2015
                : 1
                : 2
                [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@
                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.

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