Land corridors encourage biodiversity, says research in Science

Narrow strips of land that connect isolated natural areas encourage plant biodiversity, according to a new study in Science. The study confirms what ecologists have theorized for decades — that areas connected by land corridors “retain more native species than do isolated patches, that this difference increases over time, and that corridors do not promote invasion by exotic species.” Researchers studied test plots in South Carolina from 2000 to 2005, finding that linked-up patches of land had 20 percent more plant species than unconnected patches, thanks in part to enhanced seed dispersal and pollination by birds, insects, and rodents. The results add oomph to the argument that fragmentation of wild land by human activity is a major threat to biodiversity. Um, duh — but the research, says lead author Ellen Damschen, is “the piece of scientific evidence that had previously been lacking.”