Department of Wildlife and Range Sciences University of Florida Gainesville, FL 3261 1 , U.S.A. For three-quarters of a century the edge or zone of transition between different ecological associations has intrigued ecologists. The high diversity of plants and animals associated with edges and ecotones quickly became known as the edge effect principle, which is widely referred to as a fundamental concept of ecology (e.g., Wiens 1976). For the 55 years since enunciation as a game management principle, wildlife biologists have considered that âthe potential density of game of low radius requiring two or more types is, within ordinary limits, proportional to the sum of the type peripheriesâ (Leopold 1933:132). Standard habitat management guides include the prescription to âcreate as much âedgeâ as possible because wildlife is a product of the places where two habitats meetâ (Yoakum & Dasmann 1971). But increasing emphasis on plant and nongame wildlife conservation during the last two decades has revealed many characteristics of edges and ecotones that are now considered undesirable. The term âecotoneâ derives from the Greek root tonus, referring t o tension. As originally coined, âecotoneâ referred to the zone of tension between ecological communities. As it turns out, the
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1988
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