Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/67416
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Type: Journal article
Title: Primary forests are irreplaceable for sustaining tropical biodiversity
Author: Gibson, L.
Lee, T.
Koh, L.
Brook, B.
Gardner, T.
Barlow, J.
Peres, C.
Bradshaw, C.
Laurance, W.
Lovejoy, T.
Sodhi, N.
Citation: Nature, 2011; 478(7369):378-381
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0028-0836
1476-4687
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Luke Gibson, Tien Ming Lee, Lian Pin Koh, Barry W. Brook, Toby A. Gardner, Jos Barlow, Carlos A. Peres, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, William F. Laurance, Thomas E. Lovejoy and Navjot S. Sodhi
Abstract: Human-driven land-use changes increasingly threaten biodiversity, particularly in tropical forests where both species diversity and human pressures on natural environments are high. The rapid conversion of tropical forests for agriculture, timber production and other uses has generated vast, human-dominated landscapes with potentially dire consequences for tropical biodiversity. Today, few truly undisturbed tropical forests exist, whereas those degraded by repeated logging and fires, as well as secondary and plantation forests, are rapidly expanding. Here we provide a global assessment of the impact of disturbance and land conversion on biodiversity in tropical forests using a meta-analysis of 138 studies. We analysed 2,220 pairwise comparisons of biodiversity values in primary forests (with little or no human disturbance) and disturbed forests. We found that biodiversity values were substantially lower in degraded forests, but that this varied considerably by geographic region, taxonomic group, ecological metric and disturbance type. Even after partly accounting for confounding colonization and succession effects due to the composition of surrounding habitats, isolation and time since disturbance, we find that most forms of forest degradation have an overwhelmingly detrimental effect on tropical biodiversity. Our results clearly indicate that when it comes to maintaining tropical biodiversity, there is no substitute for primary forests.
Keywords: Animals; Humans; Trees; Conservation of Natural Resources; Biodiversity; Tropical Climate
Rights: ©2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
RMID: 0020113830
DOI: 10.1038/nature10425
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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