Habitat Loss and Fragmentation

  1. NatureServe
    Chief Ecologist
  1. NatureServe
    Director of Conservation Planning


Habitat loss and fragmentation are key threats to biodiversity because they either convert habitat that species and ecosystems depend on, or they isolate elements that were once connected, thereby reducing population viability and ecosystem resilience.  Understanding the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation is the first step to conserving our natural heritage.

Disrupted forest habitat in Uganda. Photo by Xuemei Han | NatureServe.

NatureServe provides a variety of methods, information, tools, and services to address these threats. Habitat loss and fragmentation are caused by urban, industrial, and rural development, roads, and intensive agriculture.  They also result from invasion by exotic species, diversion of river flows, alteration of natural patterns of wildfire, and, increasingly, effects of climate change. In order to address these concerns, we must determine where and how they occur, how they affect ecosystem and species processes and patterns, and then identify ways to minimize or reverse their effects. 

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    ProductData, Maps & Tools