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Conserv Biol. 2006 Jun;20(3):772-9.

Long-term avifaunal impoverishment in an isolated tropical woodlot.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore.


Long-term (> 50 years) extinction patterns and processes in isolated tropical forest patches are poorly understood. Considering that forest fragments are rapidly becoming the common feature of most tropical landscapes, data on the long-term conservation value of such fragments are urgently needed. We report on avifaunal turnover in a tropical woodlot (Bogor Botanical Gardens; 86 ha; 54% native and 46% introduced plants; mean 83,649 visitors/month) that has been surveyed several times before and after its isolation in 1936. By 2004 the original avifaunal richness of this woodlot declined by 59% (97 to 40 species) and its forest-dependent avifauna declined by 60% (30 to 12 species). Large-bodied birds were particularly prone to extinction before 1987, but following this time none of the species traits we studied could be considered predictive of extinction proneness. All seven forest-dependent bird species that attempted to colonize this woodlot by 1987 perished thereafter. Our results show that area reduction, isolation, intense human use, and perverse management (e.g., understory removal) of this patch have probably negatively affected the long-term sustainability of its forest avifauna.

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