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US-IALE 2018 has ended

Monday, April 9 • 8:15am - 9:30am
WELCOME & PLENARY SESSION I

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Welcome Remarks from Chicago Host Team - Emily Minor

IALE Business & 2019 World Congress in Turin - Rob Scheller

PLENARY PRESENTATION: Habitat Fragmentation: A Long and Sordid Tale, A New Beginning, and Some Unsolicited Advice - Dr. Lenore Fahrig, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada

What is the scientific basis for conservation policies that protect large, contiguous natural areas but do not protect small areas, even if numerous?  It turns out there is none.

In its earliest manifestation in the 1950's, the concept of 'habitat fragmentation' referred to an increase in the number of habitat patches, which often (but not always) co-occurs with habitat loss. A decade later, this original concept was eclipsed by the theory of island biogeography. From that point onward, instead of measuring fragmentation as the number of patches in a landscape, researchers measured it as the size or isolation of individual patches. This shift in scale caused the complete confounding of habitat fragmentation with habitat amount, leading to the widespread assumption that a single large patch has more conservation value than several small ones of the same total area.

I present the 27-year history of my role in the fragmentation debate. I conclude that habitat fragmentation as originally conceived is generally not detrimental to, and often benefits, ecological responses. While there may be practical reasons to focus conservation exclusively on large, contiguous areas, there is no scientific justification for this choice.

Plenary Presenters
avatar for Dr. Lenore Fahrig

Dr. Lenore Fahrig

Carleton University
Dr. Fahrig is a Professor of Biology, and co-Director of the Geomatics and Landscape Ecology Research Laboratory, at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. For decades, she has studied the responses of wildlife, including plants, arthropods, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals... Read More →


Monday April 9, 2018 8:15am - 9:30am
Adams Room

Attendees (71)