Sigma Xi Publications



American Scientist

Bridging Habitats: Connecting forest fragments can save species threatened by extinction

The places most likely to harbor the highest numbers of threatened species are those with many species that have small geographical ranges, especially in locations where habitat destruction is high. Local extinction rates increase as forests decrease in area, so strategically connecting patches of habitat can maximize conservation efforts. In “Connecting Habitats to Prevent Species Extinctions” (pages 162–169), ecologists Stuart L. Pimm and Clinton N. Jenkins use satellite imagery and geographical information systems to home in on small fragments of forest that are inhabited by high numbers of species with small ranges. They then work with local conservation partners to create corridors between these fragments so that threatened species with restricted habitats can expand their ranges and move into uplands as necessary when the climate changes. One such corridor now connects habitat fragments of an endangered monkey in Brazil called the golden lion tamarin, creating a reserve of sufficient size to maintain viable populations of the monkey, in addition to many other inhabiting species in the long term; observers have seen golden lion tamarins moving through the new corridor. (Illustration by Michael Morgenstern. Photos by Pr bernardes/CC-BY-SA 4.0; Felipe Toledo; Stuart L. Pimm; Lars Falkdalen Lindahl/CC-BY-SA 3.0). Read this issue

 
May–June 2019

Sigma Xi Publications