Ecosystem Decay of Amazonian Forest Fragments: A 22-year Investigation

Ecosystem Decay of Amazonian Forest Fragments: A 22-year Investigation


The authors discuss results from the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project, a long-term study on rainforest fragmentation in Amazonia. The project, which was originally intended to assess the influence of fragmented areas on Amazonia biota, took place in Menus, Brazil. This report surveyed 340 publications and theses that were produced over the 22 years of the project. 

Conclusions & Takeaways

The study finds that forest fragmentation can impact species diversity, abundance, and alter ecosystem dynamics. It also finds that human activity compounds the negative effects of tropical foest fragmentation. 




Laurance WF, Lovejoy TE, Vasconcelos HL, et al. Ecosystem Decay of Amazonian Forest Fragments: a 22-Year Investigation. Conservation Biology. 2002;16:605–618. doi:10.1046/j.1523-1739.2002.01025.x.


  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa, Republic of Panamá
  • Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project , National Institute for Amazonian Research ( INPA), Manaus, Brazil
  • H. John Heinz III Center for Science , Economics and Environment, Washington, D.C. U.S.A.
  • Department of Zoology , University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Department of Biological Sciences , Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA, U.S.A.
  • Conservation International, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
  • Department of Biology, University of North Carolina, Charlotte, NC, U.S.A.
  • Department of Ecosystem Management, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia
  • Department of Zoophysiology, University of Tuebingen, Tuebingen, Germany