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Fragment shape and tree species composition in tropical forests: A landscape level investigation

Hill, J. L.; Curran, P. J.


J. L. Hill

P. J. Curran


Fragmentation of tropical forest alters community composition as a result of changes in forest shape. This paper uses 22 hypotheses to test the effect of fragment shape on tree species composition in Ghana, West Africa, within biological categories of regeneration guild, rarity, phenology and dispersal. For both regenerating and mature trees, relationships between species composition and the shape of forest fragments were complex; almost half were significant but many failed to support the established hypotheses. Irregular shaped fragments had high proportions of regenerating, light-demanding pioneers and mature, animal-dispersed species. Species common to Ghana formed the foundation of communities in fragments of all shapes. Investigation at the landscape level indicated broad patterns of species change. Rigorous hypothesis testing is needed, following extensive demographic work on the ground, before population dynamics within tropical forest fragments can be comprehended fully and applied to conservation management. © 2005 African Journal of Ecology.


Hill, J. L., & Curran, P. J. (2005). Fragment shape and tree species composition in tropical forests: A landscape level investigation. African Journal of Ecology, 43(1), 35-43.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 1, 2005
Journal African Journal of Ecology
Print ISSN 0141-6707
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 1
Pages 35-43
Keywords edge effects, forest shape, fragmentation, Ghana, species composition, tropical forests
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : This paper tests, statistically, effects of fragment shape on tree species composition and discusses the utility of landscape level biogeographical study for tropical forest conservation. The paper was conceptualised and written by Hill.

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