Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 6, Issue 3, pp 423–433

Stable environments and fragile communities: does history determine the resilience of avian rain-forest communities to habitat degradation?

  • F. Danielsen


By comparing results from studies on the response of bird communities to selective logging and fragmentation of tropical moist forest and assessing whether different local faunas are differently affected, this paper examines whether communities in areas of unstable ecoclimatic histories may be more robust to change than those which evolved in places which were paleoecologically stable. Studies on selective logging in Asia and forest fragmentation in Latin America do not confidently demonstrate differences in the resilience of bird communities between stable and unstable areas. However, studies of selective logging and forest fragmentation in Africa give much stronger evidence for differences in fragility of local avifaunas, which correspond to what would be predicted from the paleoecological stability. Unfortunately, the currently available studies do not provide a basis for rigorous testing of the hypothesis. Comparison is constrained by lack of suitable controls, incomparable census methods, inadequate description of the disturbance regimes, and differences in the intensity of disturbance. It is suggested that well coordinated studies in many different areas, with good and standardized documentation of many habitat variables, may have considerable importance.

Biodiversity stability rain-forest logging fragmentation 


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Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Danielsen
    • 1
  1. 1.NORDECO (Nordic Agency for Development and Ecology)CopenhagenDenmark

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