DOI link for Habitat fragmentation
Habitat fragmentation book
What is habitat fragmentation? The answer to this question is not simple. Habitat fragmentation means different things to different people. As a result, the literature on the effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife presents a confusing picture. In this chapter, we describe how the initial concept of habitat fragmentation – the breaking apart of habitat, something caused by, but distinct from. habitat loss (i.e. fragmentation per se) – evolved over time to encompass other ways that human activities impact landscapes and species. We follow this with a discussion of effects of patch size and patch isolation on wildlife versus landscape-scale effects of fragmentation per se on wildlife, as this distinction is the source of much confusion. Studies of patch size and isolation typically infer strong, negative effects of fragmentation per se on wildlife, while landscape-scale studies find the opposite. We detail possible reasons for these conflicting conclusions from patch-scale and landscape-scale studies and provide recommendations for future research to increase our understanding of the effects of patch size versus landscape-scale fragmentation per se on wildlife. We conclude the chapter with a discussion of the implications of studies of the effects of habitat fragmentation on wildlife for conservation and land management.