Opportunities to conduct large-scale field experiments are rare, but provide a unique opportunity to reveal the complex processes that operate within natural ecosystems. Here, we review the design of existing, large-scale forest fragmentation experiments. Based on this review, we develop a design for the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) Project, a new forest fragmentation experiment to be located in the lowland tropical forests of Borneo (Sabah,Malaysia). The SAFE Project represents an advance on existing experiments in that it: (i) allows discrimination of the effects of landscape-level forest cover from patch-level processes; (ii) is designed to facilitate the unification of a wide range of data types on ecological patterns and processes that operate over a wide range of spatial scales; (iii) has greater replication than existing experiments; (iv) incorporates an experimental manipulation of riparian corridors; and (v) embeds the experimentally fragmented landscape within a wider gradient of land-use intensity than do existing projects. The SAFE Project represents an opportunity for ecologists across disciplines to participate in a large initiative designed to generate a broad understanding of the ecological impacts of tropical forest modification.

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Keywords Biological dynamics of forest fragments project, Calling lake fragmentation experiment, Deforestation, Hierarchical sampling design, Savannah river site corridor experiment, Wog wog habitat fragmentation experiment
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2011.0049
Journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Ewers, R.M. (Robert M.), Didham, R.K. (Raphael K.), Fahrig, L, Ferraz, G. (Gonçalo), Hector, A. (Andy), Holt, R.D. (Robert D.), … Turner, E.C. (Edgar C.). (2011). A large-scale forest fragmentation experiment: The stability of altered forest ecosystems project. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Vol. 366, pp. 3292–3302). doi:10.1098/rstb.2011.0049