Tropical forests continue to be felled and fragmented around the world. A key question is how rapidly species disappear from forest fragments and how quickly humans must restore forest connectivity to minimize extinctions. We surveyed small mammals on forest islands in Chiew Larn Reservoir in Thailand 5 to 7 and 25 to 26 years after isolation and observed the near-total loss of native small mammals within 5 years from <10-hectare (ha) fragments and within 25 years from 10- to 56-ha fragments. Based on our results, we developed an island biogeographic model and estimated mean extinction half-life (50% of resident species disappearing) to be 13.9 years. These catastrophic extinctions were probably partly driven by an invasive rat species; such biotic invasions are becoming increasingly common in human-modified landscapes. Our results are thus particularly relevant to other fragmented forest landscapes and suggest that small fragments are potentially even more vulnerable to biodiversity loss than previously thought.