The History of Deforestation and Forest Fragmentation: A Global Perspective

Bhagwat, Shonil (2014). The History of Deforestation and Forest Fragmentation: A Global Perspective. In: Kettle, Chris J. and Koh, Lian Pin eds. Global Forest Fragmentation. Wallingford: CAB International, pp. 5–19.



This chapter draws on long-term ecological studies from across the globe to reconstruct the history of deforestation and forest fragmentation. It includes studies from a variety of forest biomes focusing on the last 11,500 years (the Holocene), paying particular attention to forest fragmentation as a result of expanding agricultural frontiers. Piecing together evidence from a number of case studies from around the world, this chapter attempts to provide a timeline of the earliest occurrence of forest fragmentation and its extent. While there are a large number of studies from Europe and Asia and a few from the Americas, Australasia and Eurasia, limited information is available from tropical Americas, Africa, and South and South-east Asia. This chapter indicates the need for further research of the literature and a global meta-analysis to identify the evidence for historical deforestation and forest fragmentation. The chapter also highlights the need for long-term ecological research and palaeoecological investigations to enhance our understanding of the historical timeline of deforestation and forest fragmentation in the tropics.

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