Does forest fragmentation cause an increase in forest temperature?
- 611 Downloads
Forest fragmentation is considered by many to be a primary cause of the current biodiversity crisis. The underlying mechanisms are poorly known, but a potentially important one is associated with altered thermal conditions within the remaining forest patches, especially at forest edges. Yet, large uncertainty remains about the effect of fragmentation on forest temperature, as it is unclear whether temperature decreases from forest edge to forest interior, and whether this local gradient scales up to an effect of fragmentation (landscape attribute) on temperature. We calculated the effect size (correlation coefficient) of distance from forest edge on air temperature, and tested for differences among forest types surrounded by different matrices using meta-analysis techniques. We found a negative edge-interior temperature gradient, but correlation coefficients were highly variable, and significant only for temperate and tropical forests surrounded by a highly contrasting open matrix. Nevertheless, it is unclear if these local-scale changes in temperature can be scaled up to an effect of fragmentation on temperature. Although it may be valid when considering “fragmentation” as forest loss only, the landscape-scale inference is not so clear when we consider the second aspect of fragmentation, where a given amount of forest is divided into a large number of small patches (fragmentation per se). Therefore, care is needed when assuming that fragmentation changes forest temperature, as thermal changes at forest edges depend on forest type and matrix composition, and it is still uncertain if this local gradient can be scaled up to the landscape.
KeywordsClimate change Edge effects Habitat disturbance Microclimate Thermal biology
The authors are grateful for support from PAPIIT-DGAPA-UNAM (IN-204215), CONACyT (Project 253946) and CNPq (Project 476135/2013-3). RASV received a postdoctoral fellowship from CTIC-UNAM (CJIC/CTIC/0380/2015).
- Arroyo-Rodríguez V, Melo FPL, Martínez-Ramos M, Bongers F, Chazdon R, Meave JA, Norden N, Santos BA, Leal IR, Tabarelli M (2016) Multiple successional pathways in human-modified tropical landscapes: new insights from forest succession, forest fragmentation and landscape ecology research. Biol Rev. doi: 10.1111/brv.12231 Google Scholar
- Davies-Colley RJ, Payne GW, van Elswijk M (2000) Microclimate gradients across a forest edge. N Z J Ecol 24:111–121Google Scholar
- de Siqueira LP, de Matos MB, Silva-Matos DM, de Cássia Q, Portela R, Braz MIG, Silva-Lima L (2004) Using the variances of microclimate variables to determine edge effects in small Atlantic rain forest fragments, south-eastern Brazil. Ecotropica 10:59–64Google Scholar
- Didham RK, Lawton JH (1999) Edge structure determines the magnitude of changes in microclimate and vegetation structure in tropical forest fragments. Biotropica 31:17–30Google Scholar
- Fahrig L (2017) Ecological responses to habitat fragmentation per se. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 48 (in press)Google Scholar
- FAO (2012) Global ecological zones for FAO forest reporting: 2010 update. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Roma, p 42Google Scholar
- Haddad NM, Brudvig LA, Clobert J, Davies KF, Gonzalez A, Holt RD, Lovejoy TE, Sexton JO, Austin MP, Collins CD, Cook WM, Damschen EI, Ewers RM, Foster BL, Jenkins CN, King AJ, Laurance WF, Levey DJ, Margules CR, Melbourne BA, Nicholls AO, Orrock JL, Song DX, Townshend JR (2015) Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems. Sci Adv 1:e1500052CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Rosenberg M, Adams D, Gurevitch J (2000) MetaWin 2.0. Sinauer, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
- Tscharntke T, Tylianakis JM, Rand TA, Didham RK, Fahrig L, Batáry P, Bengtsson J, Clough Y, Crist TO, Dormann CF, Ewers RM, Fründ J, Holt RD, Holzschuh A, Klein AM, Kleijn D, Kremen C, Landis DA, Laurance W, Lindenmayer D, Scherber C, Sodhi N, Steffan-Dewenter I, Thies C, van der Putten WH, Westphal C (2012) Landscape moderation of biodiversity patterns and processes—eight hypotheses. Biol Rev 87:661–685CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Tummers B (2012) DataThief III. http://datathief.Org. Accessed 20 Apr 2016
- Turton S, Freiburger HJ (1997) Edge and aspect effects on the microclimate of a small tropical forest remnant on the Atherton Tableland, Northeastern Australia. In: Laurance WF, Bierregaard RO Jr (eds) Tropical forest remnants: ecology, management, and conservation of fragmented communities. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 45–54Google Scholar