Püttker, T., Crouzeilles, R., Almeida-Gomes, M., Schmoeller, M., Maurenza, D., Alves-Pinto, H., Pardini, R., Vieira, M. V., Banks-Leite, C., Fonseca, C. R., Metzger, J. P., Accacio, G. M., Alexandrino, E. R., Barros, C. S., Bogoni, J. A., Boscolo, D., Brancalion, P. H. S., Bueno, A. A., Cambui, E. C. B., … Prevedello, J. A. (2020). Indirect effects of habitat loss via habitat fragmentation: A cross-taxa analysis of forest-dependent species. Biological Conservation, 241, 108368.

Ano de publicação: 2020

Recent studies suggest that habitat amount is the main determinant of species richness, whereas habitat fragmentation has weak and mostly positive effects. Here, we challenge these ideas using a multi-taxa database including 2230 estimates of forest-dependent species richness from 1097 sampling sites across the Brazilian Atlantic Forest biodiversity hotspot. We used a structural equation modeling approach, accounting not only for direct effects of habitat loss, but also for its indirect effects (via habitat fragmentation), on the richness of forest-dependent species. We reveal that in addition to the effects of habitat loss, habitat fragmentation has negative impacts on animal species richness at intermediate (30–60%) levels of habitat amount, and on richness of plants at high (>60%) levels of habitat amount, both of which are mediated by edge effects. Based on these results, we argue that dismissing habitat fragmentation as a powerful force driving species extinction in tropical forest landscapes is premature and unsafe.


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