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Extinction Rates Soar in Brazil’s Fragmented Forests

Extinction Rates Soar in Brazil’s Fragmented Forests

By Stephen Messenger, TreeHugger

While much is made about pervasive threats faced by Brazil’s Amazon Rainforest (and rightfully so), the nation is home to another biologically diverse region that’s even more imperiled. After centuries of deforestation in the Atlantic Forest, an ecosystem which once stretched unbroken for over 500,000 square miles along the eastern coast of South America, now only a small fraction remains. And, in this now fragmented forest, researchers say the species struggling for survival there are disappearing at an equally alarming rate.

In a recent study which appeared in the journal PLoS ONE, researchers surveyed wildlife populations in 196 isolated patches of Atlantic Forests. But sadly, the formerly thriving hotspot of biodiversity was found to be a hotbed of extinction.

Biologists say that they “uncovered a staggering rate of local extinctions in the mammal fauna, with only 767 from a possible 3,528 populations still persisting.”

“On average, forest patches retained 3.9 out of 18 potential species occupancies, and geographic ranges had contracted to 0–14.4% of their former distributions, including five large-bodied species that had been extirpated at a regional scale. Forest fragments were highly accessible to hunters and exposed to edge effects and fires, thereby severely diminishing the predictive power of species-area relationships[.]“

Among the species found to be virtually extinct from these forests were jaguars, lowland tapirs, woolly spider monkeys and giant anteaters.

Although there is little chance of recovery for the Atlantic Forest, researchers say that some hope remains for the few persisting species clinging to life in the fragmented ecosystem. Until now, the true extent of extinctions within these patches of wilderness was not fully known, leading to some complacency on the part of government officials charged with conservation. Researchers are hoping their study will change that:

This paper is a very big positive endorsement of more protected areas.”

Photo: Deforestation in Atlantic Forest, by Alex Rio Brazil (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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5:48AM PDT on Aug 18, 2012

And how much effect does stripping of the Amazon basin and the cloud forests cause climate change? Forest/jungle stripping should not be allowed and there should be international laws imposed on all countries to control deforestation. The more people this planet needs to support, the more land destruction will follow, how about universal population control?

11:13PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

I agree, Marisa.

11:07PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Humans, the cause of EVERY problem on Earth. Everything man touches, he destroys. Humans are the only greedy, selfish, evil, sadist, sociopath, destructive and cancerous species on Earth. We think we are masters, rulers and judges with the right to exploit, conquer, destroy, abuse, maim, torture, rape, poison, terrorize and massacre any being and living system for our profit, pleasure, ego. The human population reached the carrying capacity a long time ago; there are too many humans on Earth and they reproduce exponentially - Alarming!! We need a massive humanoid cleanse. As long as humans exist, the destruction of Mother Earth and the exploitation, torture and murder of her amazing creatures will continue. Homo sapiens deserves to go extinct now!!

10:20PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

This is the last thought that did not load...

...AND to me this is still exploitation and quite disgusting. How much money will actually satisfy them? At what expense? At the expense of the remaining 99.9% of us and the the wild creatures that we haven't cage up or destroyed. But we will make short time of that I am sure. They has no power either. So frustrating to me. Why does wealth and greed seem to foster entitlement & lack of responsibility?

10:17PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Australia has so much land thats unusable due to deserts and I wonder if once it was a Paradise that was destroyed by logging in an attempt to farm etc. It is a terrible blight on the landscape when all Man can think of is the next dollar that can be made by farming, mining, logging etc. We cannot do this indefinitely. We have done enough damage already and we need to turn around from this madness and Restore the Planet so that all of us can Live in Health and true Abundance. Considering always The Planet that gives us all life.

10:10PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Humans have got to be the dumbest animals on the planet! We are smart enough to KNOW what our actions do to the environment, how destructive and thoughtless.... AND still do absolutely nothing in the form of prevention. Instead we consume, destroy, pollute, kill, take over everything without thinking there might be a better way for EVERY living thing. WE act as if the Earth is just for us to abuse, deplete & poison.
All of this is done for the almighty dollar. The few corporations that run the US are so greedy. Screw the stockholders, we are poisoning our living breathing home and all the ORIGINAL inhabitants. For hundreds of thousands to many million years there was a balance here. The plants and animals all adapted to create this blue and green planet we live on. For mammals with such a big brain it amazes me. Oil & coal waste, deforestation, landfill leaches into the water table & oceans, plastic bottles choking the ocean of it's oxygen, sea life and birds consume it, We have paved over so much of the soil that the planet can not breathe anymore. We ship out jobs from our own neighbors with no second thought. Watch their lives crumble as they loose first the job, then house, stability. families fall apart. Then ship American jobs overseas. Then we EXPLOIT them. But that seems to be acceptable because before they worked for the big American company they had absolutely nothing. SO they should be grateful. They still live in poverty. NO medical insurance. And

10:01PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Humans have got to be the dumbest animals on the planet! We are smart enough to KNOW what our actions do to the environment, how destructive and thoughtless.... AND still do absolutely nothing in the form of prevention. Instead we consume, destroy, pollute, kill, take over everything without thinking there might be a better way for EVERY living thing. WE act as if the Earth is just for us to abuse, deplete & poison.
All of this is done for the almighty dollar. The few corporations that run the US are so greedy. Screw the stockholders, we are poisoning our living breathing home and all the ORIGINAL inhabitants. For hundreds of thousands to many million years there was a balance here. The plants and animals all adapted to create this blue and green planet we live on. For mammals with such a big brain it amazes me. Oil & coal waste, deforestation, landfill leaches into the water table & oceans, plastic bottles choking the ocean of it's oxygen, sea life and birds consume it, We have paved over so much of the soil that the planet can not breathe anymore. We ship out jobs from our own neighbors with no second thought. Watch their lives crumble as they loose first the job, then house, stability. families fall apart. Then ship American jobs overseas. Then we EXPLOIT them. But that seems to be acceptable because before they worked for the big American company they had absolutely nothing. SO they should be grateful. They still live in poverty. NO medical insurance. And

9:52PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Too many humans.

9:23PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Science spoke of fragmented habitats back in the 1970's but the short sighted nature of people made no acommodation for other species. At some point the neglect of nature humanity has shown will affect humanity as well and all its excuses it has used over the years will not help to preclude that from happening.

6:30PM PDT on Aug 17, 2012

Remind me, isn’t Brazil about to hold the next Olympic Games in 2016?

I am sure that none of the “time to refurbish our image” window dressing so beloved of the governments of countries that hold these extravagant events, will show the devastation that is taking place there and the effect that this vandalism is having on their eco-structure and the global climate.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

well said Ms Annie Lawrie.....whatever may be the fact, I still like earthworms and I feel they r go…

Thank you.

Thank you for sharing!

Very interesting. I never knew. Thanks .

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