We like to think that a forest that has been ravaged and cut through by roads and cities can still be called a forest.
However, results from a new study tend to suggest quite the opposite. Constant forest fragmentation will have lasting detrimental effects on our entire planet. A fragmented forest will cease to be a sustainable natural habitat for the wildlife including plants, which will cause a long-term negative impact on the.
The two truly intact forests left on Earth are: the congo and the amazon rainforest
The National Science Foundation has funded this new study and included 24 different scientists from multiple countries that were led by a professor at North Carolina State University, Nick Haddad.
The researchers focused their study on the impact that forest fragmentation had on wildlife and came to an astonishing yet disappointing conclusion. It tends to appear as if the habitat fragmentation continually leads to 13 to 75% decrease in animal and plant diversity. It reduces the abilities of the animals and plants to survive and subsequently affects the food chain, as smaller patches of forest tend to contain increasing numbers of predator populations.
But at the same time, forests that have more edges to them have significantly reduced their core ecosystems functions, such as the ability to process carbon dioxide. The ability to process carbon dioxide alleviates the rapid climate changes, and displays a strong decline in pollination and productivity.
Yet even more disappointing is that there are more than 70% of the Earth’s forests that lie within a kilometer of a habitats edge. The effects may go unnoticed for many more years and will only get worse as time goes on. According to the study, more than a 50% decrease in animal and plant species abundance will be seen in the next 20 years.
The only way that we can live in harmony with our environment is by slowing down and ensuring that every decision we make is well thought through.