We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Ecology of Fragmented Landscapes

Sharon K. Collinge foreword by Richard T. T. Forman

Publication Year: 2009

Ask airline passengers what they see as they gaze out the window, and they will describe a fragmented landscape: a patchwork of desert, woodlands, farmlands, and developed neighborhoods. Once-contiguous forests are now subdivided; tallgrass prairies that extended for thousands of miles are now crisscrossed by highways and byways. Whether the result of naturally occurring environmental changes or the product of seemingly unchecked human development, fractured lands significantly impact the planet’s biological diversity. In Ecology of Fragmented Landscapes, Sharon K. Collinge defines fragmentation, explains its various causes, and suggests ways that we can put our lands back together. Researchers have been studying the ecological effects of dismantling nature for decades. In this book, Collinge evaluates this body of research, expertly synthesizing all that is known about the ecology of fragmented landscapes. Expanding on the traditional coverage of this topic, Collinge also discusses disease ecology, restoration, conservation, and planning. Not since Richard T. T. Forman's classic Land Mosaics has there been a more comprehensive examination of landscape fragmentation. Ecology of Fragmented Landscapes is critical reading for ecologists, conservation biologists, and students alike.

Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press


pdf iconDownload PDF (56.1 KB)
pp. v

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (44.4 KB)
pp. vii-ix

Imagine getting a beautiful multicolor, with-everything, chopped-up pizza for a special person. Suddenly, while crossing the campus, it slips out of your grasp— and you are left pondering the pieces. Though devastated, you happen to notice the overall pattern of fragments, plus their many sizes, shapes, color combinations, and spatial arrangements. That pizza and the pattern on the ground provide clues to the pages ahead. The big picture, like the view from...

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (57.0 KB)
pp. xi-xiii

Dismantle is defined as to “disassemble” or “take apart.” When I originally conceived this book, I thought of the phrase “dismantling nature” because it seemed to aptly describe a fundamental process occurring around us. In our zest for transforming lands for human use, we have created fragmented landscapes in which many natural communities and ecosystems are effectively being taken...

read more

1. Introduction: Framing the Issues

pdf iconDownload PDF (172.4 KB)
pp. 1-18

My home town of Emporia, Kansas, sits almost at the geographic center of the contiguous United States and is also smack in the middle of the tallgrass prairie ecosystem of the North American Great Plains. When I was growing up, it seemed as though I was surrounded by acres and acres of grassy pastures, the flowering stalks of the grasses reaching well above my head in particularly wet...

read more

2. Conceptual Frameworks

pdf iconDownload PDF (106.0 KB)
pp. 19-38

Now that the motivations for studying the ecological consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation have been explained, it’s important to understand the conceptual frameworks that underlie this field of study. Several key ecological theories contribute to our understanding of the consequences of loss and fragmentation for individuals, populations, and communities. Chapter 1 noted that natural...

read more

3. Fragment Size and Isolation

pdf iconDownload PDF (115.0 KB)
pp. 39-62

Larger areas of land or water support more species than smaller areas, a point that has been made clear with repeated illustrations of species-area curves and is fundamental to our ecological understanding of the natural world. Yet despite the fact that this is old news, ecologists are still talking about this relationship and papers are still being published on this topic. Why? Probably because it is one of the...

read more

4. Experimenting with Fragmentation

pdf iconDownload PDF (315.2 KB)
pp. 63-92

Previous chapters extensively covered the theories that relate to habitat loss and fragmentation and considered ecological observations related to changes in patch size and isolation. As many of these early observations were appearing in the published literature, however, skepticism surfaced in the scientific community. Critics asked whether the observed ecological patterns represented the real responses...

read more

5. Fragment Context and Edge Effects

pdf iconDownload PDF (191.2 KB)
pp. 93-118

Many ecological studies of habitat loss and fragmentation have focused on how ecological patterns or processes are a

read more

6. Animal and Plant Movement

pdf iconDownload PDF (149.6 KB)
pp. 119-141

One of the most famous of Aesop’s fables relates the story of the tortoise and the hare. After having been teased relentlessly by the hare about his rather plodding gait, one day the slow tortoise challenges the swift hare to a race. Most readers probably know how the story turns out. Along the route, the hare snacks on cabbages...

read more

7. Species Interactions

pdf iconDownload PDF (220.3 KB)
pp. 142-168

Most research in fragmented landscapes has centered on species’ populations or aggregate measures of community composition. Explanations for observed responses to habitat loss and fragmentation have frequently considered pervasive microclimatic effects that occur at edges (chapter 5) or the random, demographic...

read more

8. Parasites, Pathogens, and Disease Emergence

pdf iconDownload PDF (193.2 KB)
pp. 169-194

In recent years, media coverage has startled readers with tales of outbreaks of mysterious maladies in humans, wild animals, trees, and agricultural crops— West Nile virus, Lyme disease, chronic wasting disease, amphibian limb deformities, sudden oak death, and soybean rust. Reports of the resurgence of more familiar human diseases—plague, rabies, and malaria—have appeared as well....

read more

9. Modeling

pdf iconDownload PDF (173.0 KB)
pp. 195-218

Models can be somewhat intimidating to the uninitiated ecologist, because they often involve some complex mathematical equations. But a model in its simplest definition is just an abstraction of reality. We all know that a toy car is a model of a real car, but because children are not big enough to drive real cars, we give them less dangerous forms of vehicles that don’t have accelerators. And a map is a...

read more

10. Restoration

pdf iconDownload PDF (202.3 KB)
pp. 219-245

A few years ago I had the good fortune to accompany the illustrious ecologist Dan Janzen on a field trip near his home in the tropical dry forests of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. As we drove toward Santa Rosa National Park through a landscape of scattered forest fragments and cattle pastures with the occasional solitary tree, Janzen spoke passionately about the rampant destruction of the dry...

read more

11. Ecological Planning

pdf iconDownload PDF (274.7 KB)
pp. 246-272

Landscapes are constantly changing. As is often the case with our own lives, some of those changes are carefully planned and some are unplanned. The designation of a new national park or a major suburban housing development is usually the result of thoughtful planning and decision-making over several years, with input from many stakeholders. But arsonous wildfires that burn out of control...

read more

12. Some Final Thoughts

pdf iconDownload PDF (69.8 KB)
pp. 273-279

Modern humans have extensively altered the surface of the Earth. Human actions— whether taken to cultivate food, or build roads, dwellings, and dams, or gather fuel and fiber—have left a visible legacy in the scattered remnants of native ecosystems. As the research summarized in this book illustrates, this kind of landscape alteration generally disrupts ecological systems to the...

Literature Cited

pdf iconDownload PDF (238.5 KB)
pp. 281-331


pdf iconDownload PDF (482.1 KB)
pp. 333-340


pdf iconDownload PDF (27.0 KB)
pp. 341

E-ISBN-13: 9780801895661
E-ISBN-10: 0801895669
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801891380
Print-ISBN-10: 0801891388

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 42 illustrations
Publication Year: 2009