Fragmentation and Isolation

Authored by: Anne Kuhn

Encyclopedia of Natural Resources

Print publication date:  July  2014
Online publication date:  June  2014

Print ISBN: 9781439852583
eBook ISBN: 9781351043847
Adobe ISBN:


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Landscapes are being modified by humans at ever-increasing rates worldwide. This landscape level modification has resulted in changes in ecological patterns and processes, including species distributions. The rate at which humans are altering both terrestrial and aquatic habitats far exceeds the capacity for most species to respond to the increasing loss of habitat and isolated remains of these habitat patches. Fragmentation and isolation of habitat are occurring alongside other environmental stressors and may be interacting synergistically rather than independently. To have any real or sustainable impact, the interacting effects and responses to anthropogenically altered landscapes need to be addressed at an ecosystem level. Understanding and mitigating the causal effects of habitat fragmentation and isolation will require integrated multi-scale landscape level approaches that consider ecological processes occurring within these landscapes, and the synergistic interactions between fragmentation, isolation, and other drivers of environmental change.

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