Edge-Effects Drive Tropical Forest Fragments Towards an Early-Successional System
This paper argues that edge effects trigger a rapid and inevitable successional process that drives most remaining neotropical forest fragments towards a persistent early-successional system.
Conclusions & Takeaways
When forest edges are created, fragements experience a rapid, hyper-proliferation of short-lived pioneer trees, and at the same time, groups of shade tolerant/old growth species are disfavored, eventually become rare, and may be driven to extinction at the landscale scale. This process inevitably aggravates the forest biomass collapse caused by increased mortality of large, denser trees near the forest edges, and contributes to the simplification of forest vertical stratification. Furthermore, the authors proclaim that the contnued recruitment of pioneers along both recently created and much older “hyper-fragmented” landscapes, and that this supports the hypothesis that pioneer dominated assemblages may be approaching a more stagnant equilibrium condition rather than simply a transient successional stage.
Edge-effects Drive Tropical Forest Fragments Towards an Early-Successional System. Biotropica. 2008;40:657–661. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.2008.00454.x..
- Departamento de Botanica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, PE, Brazil
- Carlos A. Peres School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK