Deforestation, habitat loss and fragmentation are linked and are driving the ongoing biodiversity crisis, with hydropower to blame for much of this degradation.
Deforestation, habitat loss and fragmentation are linked and are driving the ongoing biodiversity crisis, with hydropower to blame for much of this degradation. In lowland tropical forests, river damming typically floods vast low-elevation areas, while previous ridgetops often become insular forest patches.
In a new study, scientists from UEA, Portugal and Brazil used network theory to understand how insular habitat fragmentation affects tropical forest biodiversity. This approach perceives habitat patches and species as connected units at the whole-landscape scale, encompassing a species-habitat network.
The study, ‘Emergent properties of species-habitat networks in an insular forest landscape’, is published today in the journal Science Advances.
The authors studied 22 habitat patches, consisting of forest islands and three continuous forest sites, which were created by the Balbina Hydroelectric Reservoir, one of the largest in South America. The 608 species surveyed represented eight biological groups: mid-sized to large mammals; small non-flying mammals; understorey birds; lizards; frogs; dung beetles; orchid bees and trees.
Read more at University of East Anglia
Photo Credit: Bob Peterson via Wikimedia Commons