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.

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 August 21, 2014 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 August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — California's record drought is hurting honey supplies and raising prices for consumers. The lack of rainfall means fewer crops and wildflowers that provide the nectar bees need to make honey. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Thousands Of Species Found In Lake Under Antarctic Ice

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A U.S. team found nearly 4,000 species in a subglacial lake that hasn't seen sunlight in millennia, showing life can thrive even under the ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Unsustainable Elephant Poaching Killed 100K In 3 Years

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — Poachers have killed 100,000 elephants between 2010 and 2012, as the booming ivory trade takes its toll on the animals in Africa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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