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Even Protected Rainforest Reserves are Under Stress from Human Encroachment

Recent surveys have shown that even protected rainforest reserves are experiencing species loss and ecological decline. This decay was thought to be correlated with human disturbance, but the relationship had remained unclear until now.

As part of a four-decade study in Mexico’s Los Tuxtlas Rainforest Reserve, researchers found that forest fragmentation, the breaking of large forest areas into smaller separated pieces, combined with hunting pressures on medium and large mammals led to an explosion in the number of palm trees, which, in turn, eliminated space for other trees species.

 “What we found is that four decades of forest fragmentation...