News FocusConservation Biology

Combined Insults Spell Trouble for Rainforests

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Science  07 Jul 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5476, pp. 35-37
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5476.35

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Scientists are now saying that a combination of interacting factors--including forest fragmentation, logging, and El Niño-driven drought--has altered the fire regimes of tropical forests and is changing regional climates and reconfiguring the landscape. These interactions are synergistic, they say--that is, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The concept provides a new paradigm for understanding the dynamics of fragmented rainforests and for approaching their conservation.