Habitat Fragmentation, Species Loss, and Biological Control

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Science  10 Jun 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5165, pp. 1581-1584
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5165.1581


Fragmentation of habitats in the agricultural landscape is a major threat to biological diversity, which is greatly determined by insects. Isolation of habitat fragments resulted in decreased numbers of species as well as reduced effects of natural enemies. Manually established islands of red clover were colonized by most available herbivore species but few parasitoid species. Thus, herbivores were greatly released from parasitism, experiencing only 19 to 60 percent of the parasitism of nonisolated populations. Species failing to successfully colonize isolated islands were characterized by small and highly variable populations. Accordingly, lack of habitat connectivity released insects from predator control.