Near-Complete Extinction of Native Small Mammal Fauna 25 Years After Forest Fragmentation

Luke Gibson, Antony Lynam, Corey Bradshaw, Fangliang He, David Bickford, David Woodruff, Sara Bumrungsri, William Laurance

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    176 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    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.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1508-1510
    Number of pages3
    JournalScience
    Volume341
    Issue number6153
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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