A new analysis of global vegetation cover has shown that 70% of the world's forests are within 1 km of the forest edge. This means that only 30% of global forests are away from areas of fragmentation and human activity. Whilst the boundaries between two natural vegetation types (the ecotone) can be a region of immense diversity, this isn't the case with fragmented forests. Instead the author's summarise a series of long term fragmentation experiments and put them into the context of our heavily fragmented forests. The outlook for our planet is that habitat fragmentation reduces biodiversity by up to 75% and highlights the urgent need for global scale conservation.
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.