Stability of Tropical Rainforest Margins
William F. Laurance summarizes key ?ndings of the Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments Project in Amazonia, the world’s largest and longe- running experimental study on habitat fragmentation. Edge e?ects play a key role in fragment dynamics and the surrounding matrix has a major in?uence on fragment connectivity and functioning. Many Amazonian species avoid even small clearings. Konrad Fiedler et al. focus on tropical forest moths and their response to forest disturbance and recovery. Using large data sets from Borneo and Ecuador, they found strong responses of species composition to disturbance, butnotalwaysofspeciesdiversity.Beta,ratherthanalpha,diversityappeared to be meaningful to assess land use impacts. Ra?aelErnstetal.presentresultsonamphibiancommunitiesindisturbed forests of the Neo- and Afrotropics. Patterns in community composition, and hence beta diversity, is a key in understanding impacts of human disturbance. These authors argue that alterations in the functional diversity of amphibians are a good predictor of habitat change. Dietrich Hertel et al. address the e?ects of forest use and forest conv- sion on the below-ground compartment in the wet tropical forests of Sulawesi (Indonesia). The authors review the response of ?ne root biomass to forest disturbance intensity and interpret results with respect to carbon storage in the root system. Luitgard Schwendenmann et al. present data on how forest conversion a?ects soil carbon pools, carbon mineralization rates and soil respiration in Central Panama. The active soil organic carbon pool was found to be a s- sitive indicator of soil respiration and may indicate land-use changes.
Contributes to an improved understanding of the processes that have destabilizing effects on ecological and socio-economic systems of tropical rain forest margins