Longterm study shows even protected tropical reserves are threatened by human encroachment
12th April 2016 / Bob Yirka
A small team of researchers from Mexico and the U.S. has found that protecting the remaining parts of the rain forest will require more than simply outlawing intrusion by mining or treecutting on islands of land.
Anthropogenic disturbances affecting tropical forest reserves have been documented, but their ecological longterm cumulative effects are poorly understood. Habitat fragmentation and defaunation are two major anthropogenic threats to the integrity of tropical reserves. Based on a longterm (four decades) study, we document how these disturbances synergistically disrupt ecological processes and imperil biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning at Los Tuxtlas, the northernmost tropical rainforest reserve in the Americas.
Deforestation around this reserve has reduced the reserve to a mediumsized fragment (640 ha), leading to an increased frequency of canopy-gap formation.