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Data from: Impact of habitat fragmentation on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc Forests in East Africa: implications for biodiversity conservation

Citation

Newmark, William D.; McNeally, Phoebe B. (2018), Data from: Impact of habitat fragmentation on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc Forests in East Africa: implications for biodiversity conservation, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vk8cd

Abstract

The Eastern Arc Mountains in Tanzania and Kenya are one of 35 global biodiversity hotspots. The Eastern Arc forests are, as are many other tropical biodiversity hotspots, highly fragmented. Understanding the impact of habitat fragmentation (i.e., habitat loss and subdivision) on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc forests is important because forest spatial structure highly influences species richness, persistence, and extinction debt. Here we examine the impact of habitat fragmentation on the spatial structure of the Eastern Arc forests at a patch scale using very high resolution aerial imagery having a spatial resolution of 0.5–1.5 m. Forest area across the 13 Eastern Arc Mountains is 405,852 ha and is distributed into 311 fragments ≥ 10 ha in size with a median fragment size of 84 ha. The 18 largest forest fragments in the Eastern Arc Mountains contain greater than three-quarters of total forest area. Average fragment isolation, as assessed by median distance to nearest fragment and median distance to the nearest larger fragment, is 867 and 1533 m, respectively. Of total forest area, 14% is < 100 m from the forest edge and 33% is < 300 m from the forest edge. Establishing forested linkages among the largest and closest forest fragments through forest regeneration and protection of secondary regenerating forest as well as providing protected area status to the remaining non-protected forest including unprotected smaller forest fragments are important to enhancing the long-term persistence of many plant and animal species here.

Usage Notes

Location

Tanzania
Eastern Arc Mountains
Kenya