Receding Forest Edges and Vanishing Reserves

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Science  26 May 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5470, pp. 1356-1358
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5470.1356

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Logging and the building of roads through forests results in their fragmentation. Around the perimeter of each forest fragment is an edge where ecological changes start to take place. Eventually, the edge effect leads to recession of the forest edges and diminution of the fragment until it disappears. As Gascon and colleagues explain in their Perspective, this worrying trend is a particular problem in tropical forests. The authors propose ways in which conservationists can prevent the loss of forest fragments (which are often protected areas surrounded by agricultural land) through carefully thought out conservation planning and management schemes.