Tropical dry forest fragments important to conserving reptile biodiversity in Colombia
December 1, 2008
An important task in tropical conservation is to understand which species are particularly vulnerable to extinction, and identify the characteristics that put them at risk. Because habitat loss and fragmentation are at the root of the global extinction crisis, an extensive collection of literature has developed around profiling species assemblages in fragmented landscapes. It is also clear that species may respond differently to fragmentation, but many species experience direct or indirect negative effects, sometimes resulting in local extirpation in habitat patches.
Tropical dry forests are biodiversity rich, have a more restricted geographic distribution than tropical wet forests, and have undergone, as a result of human activity, a severe process of transformation to human modified landscapes. In the Neotropics, this change has resulted in vast losses of tropical dry forest areas, and in many cases remaining forests are found heavily fragmented. These highly seasonal tropical forests harbor rich assemblages of reptiles, but less is known about them than is the case for tropical wet forests.
Writing in the December issue of Tropical Conservation Science, Juan E. Carvajal-Cogollo and Nicolás Urbina-Cardona provide new information on the reptile species assemblages found in forest fragments in the Colombian Caribbean region. They recorded the highest reptile richness in larger forest fragments, but species-area relationship was not apparent, and they also point out that the greatest amount of species exchange was between larger and smaller forest fragments, suggesting that both large and small fragments are important for the persistence of reptile species in the fragmented landscape.
Carvajal-Cogollo, J. E. and Urbina-Cardona, J. N. 2008. Patrones de diversidad y composición de reptiles en fragmentos de bosque seco tropical en Córdoba, Colombia. Tropical Conservation Science Vol.1 (4):397-416.