Dr Rob Ewers, Reader in Ecology, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London.

When forests are cleared for commercial purposes, it is usual for small forest fragments to remain behind. Forest edges and fragments have different characteristics from the rest of the forest; they tend to be warmer and dryer, with denser vegetation. Forest fragmentation often has a negative impact on biodiversity because several species cannot live near to the forest edge. Others can become trapped in small forest fragments because they are unable to survive in the bright sunlit areas in between.

Researchers involved with the SAFE (Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems) project are currently investigating forest fragmentation in Malaysian Borneo. The area of forest under study is being legally converted to palm oil plantations, providing an opportunity for scientists to study the effect of forest fragmentation on the biodiversity of the region.