The anatomy of fragmentation



The external and internal anatomy of fragments as well as the type of fragmentation process can influence the persistenceof taxa within the remnants. This paper outlines some conceptual issues about fragment topology, habitat matrixand scale, and presents some caveats and directions for future research. For example, it is shown that owing to thespecific pattern of fragmentation, even a vagile species can go extinct although a large proportion of its habitat is intact.Furthermore, the functionality of a landscape configuration is dependent on the perceptual abilities of the taxaexperiencing the fragmentation. Fragmentation effects on immobile self-incompatible plants are mediated through theeffects of landscape change on pollen vectors such as wind or animal taxa. Fragmentation research must therefore alsofocus on influence of landscape change on species interactions rather than on single species alone.


Conservation biology; edge effects; fragmentation; metapopulations; scale effects

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