Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wildlife face 'Armageddon' as forests shrink

Date:
September 26, 2013
Source:
National University of Singapore
Summary:
Species living in rainforest fragments could be far more likely to disappear than was previously thought, says an international team of scientists. In a study spanning two decades, the researchers witnessed the near-complete extinction of native small mammals on forest islands created by a large hydroelectric reservoir in Thailand.

Earth mover in tropical rainforest. "It was like ecological Armageddon," said Luke Gibson from the National University of Singapore, who led the study. "Nobody imagined we'd see such catastrophic local extinctions."
Credit: © Stιphane Bidouze / Fotolia

Species living in rainforest fragments could be far more likely to disappear than was previously thought, says an international team of scientists.

Related Articles


In a study spanning two decades, the researchers witnessed the near-complete extinction of native small mammals on forest islands created by a large hydroelectric reservoir in Thailand.

"It was like ecological Armageddon," said Luke Gibson from the National University of Singapore, who led the study. "Nobody imagined we'd see such catastrophic local extinctions."

The study, just published in the leading journal Science today, is considered important because forests around the world are being rapidly felled and chopped up into small island-like fragments. "It's vital that we understand what happens to species in forest fragments," said Antony Lynam of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "The fate of much of the world's biodiversity is going to depend on it."

The study was motivated by a desire to understand how long species can live in forest fragments. If they persist for many decades, this gives conservationists a window of time to create wildlife corridors or restore surrounding forests to reduce the harmful effects of forest isolation.

However, the researchers saw native small mammals vanish with alarming speed, with just a handful remaining -- on average, less than one individual per island -- after 25 years. "There seemed to be two culprits," said William Laurance of James Cook University in Australia. "Native mammals suffered the harmful effects of population isolation, and they also had to deal with a devastating invader -- the Malayan field rat."

In just a few years, the invading rat grew so abundant on the islands that it virtually displaced all native small mammals. The field rat normally favors villages and agricultural lands, but will also invade disturbed forests.

"This tells us that the double whammy of habitat fragmentation and invading species can be fatal for native wildlife," said Lynam. "And that's frightening because invaders are increasing in disturbed and fragmented habitats around the world."

"The bottom line is that we must conserve large, intact habitats for nature," said Gibson. "That's the only way we can ensure biodiversity will survive."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National University of Singapore. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. L. Gibson, A. J. Lynam, C. J. A. Bradshaw, F. He, D. P. Bickford, D. S. Woodruff, S. Bumrungsri, W. F. Laurance. Near-Complete Extinction of Native Small Mammal Fauna 25 Years After Forest Fragmentation. Science, 2013; 341 (6153): 1508 DOI: 10.1126/science.1240495

Cite This Page:

National University of Singapore. "Wildlife face 'Armageddon' as forests shrink." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926143141.htm>.
National University of Singapore. (2013, September 26). Wildlife face 'Armageddon' as forests shrink. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926143141.htm
National University of Singapore. "Wildlife face 'Armageddon' as forests shrink." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926143141.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

Solar Plane Passes New Test Ahead of World Tour

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) — A solar-powered plane made a third successful test flight in the United Arab Emirates on Monday ahead of a planned round-the-world tour to promote alternative energy. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

Heavy Toll as Australian Farmers Struggle Through Drought

AFP (Mar. 2, 2015) — Mounting debts, despair and forced repossessions are taking a heavy toll on farmers in parts of Australia suffering from its worst drought in 100 years. Duration: 02:16 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Doomsday' Vault Stores Tree Seeds In Case Of Armageddon

'Doomsday' Vault Stores Tree Seeds In Case Of Armageddon

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, also known as the "doomsday" vault, took its first contribution of tree seeds this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chile on Alert as Volcano Spews Smoke and Ash

Chile on Alert as Volcano Spews Smoke and Ash

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 2, 2015) — Chile&apos;s massive Villarrica volcano remains on yellow alert as it belches out incandescent fragments at night with nearby communities placed on alert. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins