Not Seeing the Ocean for the Islands: The Mediating Influence of Matrix-Based Processes on Forest Fragmentation Effects

John Kupfer
George P. Malanson, University of Iowa
Scott Franklin


The mediating influences of matrix-based processes on forest fragmentation effects are discussed. A conceptual model that addresses the effect of forest habitat loss and the effect of fragmentation on biodiversity through reduction of the resource base, subdivision of populations, alterations of species interactions and disturbance regimes, modifications of microclimate and increases in the presence of invasive species and human pressures on remnants is also presented. It is found that the changes in population dispersal and dynamics affect community assembly and interactions. Processes occurring at the population and community level drive landscape-level processes while landscape pattern constrains population and community processes. Forest fragmentation significantly alters microclimate across the landscape, which in turn can feed back to influence disturbance regime.