As everyone old enough to read a newspaper knows, tropical forests are being destroyed at a stunning pace. In the mere 10 min it will take you to read this, an area of tropical forest the size of 60 football fields will be felled, while another 20 playing fields will be selectively logged. Rainforests in countries like Madagascar, India, Guatemala, and the Philippines have been largely denuded in recent decades ( Myers, 1994; Whitmore, 1997 ). In the Amazon, far more forest has been destroyed in the last 20 years (400,000 km 2 ) than was lost during the previous 480 years of European colonization (152,000 km 2 ; Anon., 1999 ). By the latter half of the next century, only remote reaches of the Congo Basin and west-central Amazonia are likely to contain large, unbroken tracts of tropical forest ( Smith et al., 1992; Myers, 1994 ). Such forest loss is leading to massive habitat fragmentation. In the Brazilian Amazon, for example, the area of forest that is fragmented (forest <100 km 2 in area) or prone to edge effects (<1 km from clearings) is over 150% larger than that actually deforested ( Skole and Tucker, 1994
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Dec 1, 1999
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