Published: March 20, 2015

Seventy percent of forested lands remaining in the world are within a half mile of the forest edge, where encroaching urban, suburban or agricultural influences can cause any number of harmful effects, according to a new study involving EBIO professors Dr. Kendi Davies and Dr. Brett Melbourne published in Science Advances this week.

Working in conjunction with researchers from North Carolina State University, the Davies and Melbourne labs were part of a global survey of habitat fragmentation—the division of habitats into smaller and more isolated patches—and found the degree of fragmentation points to trouble for a number of the world’s ecosystems, from forests to savannahs to grasslands, and the plants and animals living in them.

The study tracked seven major experiments on five continents to find that fragmented habitats reduce the diversity of plants and animals by 13 to 75 percent, with the largest negative effects found in the smallest and most isolated patches.  You can read more about this groundbreaking habitat study at Science Advances or in University of Colorado Boulder news.