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Distribution and Causes of Global Forest Fragmentation

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Abstract:Because human land uses tend to expand over time, forests that share a high proportion of their borders with anthropogenic uses are at higher risk of further degradation than forests that share a high proportion of their borders with non-forest, natural land cover (e.g. wetland). Using 1 Km A VHRR based land cover, we present a method to separate estimated forest fragmentation into natural and anthropogenic components, and report results for all inhabited continents summarized by World Wildlife Fund biomes. Globally, over half of the temperate broadleaf and mixed forest biome and nearly one quarter of the tropical rainforest biome have been fragmented or removed by humans, opposed to only 4% of boreal forest. Overall, Europe had the most human caused fragmentation and South America the least. This method may allow for improved risk assessments and better targeting for protection and remediation by identifying areas with high amounts of human caused fragmentation.
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Citation:Wade, T. G., K. H. Riitters, J. D. Wickham, and K. B. Jones. Distribution and Causes of Global Forest Fragmentation. CONSERVATION ECOLOGY 7(2):7, (2003).
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
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Product Type: Journal
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Published: 09/05/2003
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Development of Landscape Indicators for Use in Regional Ecological Risk Assessments
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
URL: http://cfpub.epa.gov