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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Conservation of birds in fragmented landscapes requires protected areas

Timmers, Robert; van Kuijk, Marijke; Verweij, Pita A.; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Hautier, Yann; Laurance, William F.; Arriaga-Weiss, Stefan L.; Askins, Robert A.; Battisti, Corrado; Berg, Ake; Daily, Gretchen C.; Estades, Cristian F.; Frank, Beatrice; Kurosawa, Reiko; Pojar, Rosamund A.; Woinarski, John C. Z.; Soons, Merel B.


For successful conservation of biodiversity, it is vital to know whether protected areas in increasingly fragmented landscapes effectively safeguard species. However, how large habitat fragments must be, and what level of protection is required to sustain species, remains poorly known. We compiled a global dataset on almost 2000 bird species in 741 forest fragments varying in size and protection status, and show that protection is associated with higher bird occurrence, especially for threatened species. Protection becomes increasingly effective with increasing size of forest fragments. For forest fragments >50 ha our results show that strict protection (International Union for Conservation of Nature [IUCN] categories I-IV) is strongly associated with higher bird occurrence, whereas fragments had to be at least 175 ha for moderate protection (IUCN categories V and VI) to have a positive effect. This meta-analysis quantifies the importance of fragment size, protection status, and their interaction for the conservation of bird species communities, and stresses that protection should not be limited to large pristine areas.

Published in

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
2022, volume: 20, number: 6, pages: 361-369
Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Timmers, Robert
League of European Research Universities - LERU
van Kuijk, Marijke
Utrecht University
Verweij, Pita A.
League of European Research Universities - LERU
Ghazoul, Jaboury
Utrecht University
Ghazoul, Jaboury
ETH Zurich
Hautier, Yann
League of European Research Universities - LERU
Laurance, William F.
James Cook University
Arriaga-Weiss, Stefan L.
Universidad Juarez Autonoma de Tabasco
Askins, Robert A.
Connecticut College
Berg, Åke
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Daily, Gretchen C.
Stanford University
Estades, Cristian F.
Universidad de Chile
Frank, Beatrice
Reg Pk
Woinarski, John C. Z.
Charles Darwin University
Soons, Merel B.
League of European Research Universities - LERU
Soons, Merel B.
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

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