Island biogeography theory predicts that species will be lost on habitat “islands” created by the fragmentation of continental regions. Many Tanzanian parks are rapidly becoming habitat islands as a result of human settlement, agricultural development, and the active elimination of wildlife on adjacent lands. The rate of extinction of mammals in six Tanzanian parks over the last 35–83 years is significantly and inversely related to park area, suggesting that increasing insularization of the parks has been an important contributory factor in large mammal extinctions. I compared observed patterns of persistence of mammals in Tanzanian parks to predictions derived from earlier extinction models. The predictions of the S1 models of Soulé et al. (1979) and Burkey (1994) and the S2 and S3 models of Soulé et al. (1979) match very closely the observed pattern of persistence of mammals in Tanzanian parks. The loss of mammal species will probably continue, particularly in the smaller parks. Establishment of wildlife corridors linking the parks in northern Tanzania could help to reduce the potential loss of species in the future.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Dec 1, 1996
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