Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department

Organismal Biology

Reader 1

Donald McFarlane

Reader 2

Diane Thomson

Rights Information

© 2013 Kristen Blair


The study of tropical forest fragmentation addresses the difficult issues of diminishing forest area and concurrent biodiversity losses. In recent years much of the deforestation of the tropics has been challenged with policy changes and conservation efforts. The Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology, located in Costa Rica, is an area of relatively conserved and restored forest fragments that has proven resilient. This study focuses on a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, used to assess the level of forest fragmentation in the area. Fragmentation is the process by which continuous forest is diminished into smaller, geographically isolated portions of forest. It was determined that the area is relatively unfragmented, as compared to it’s status in 1972. Though anthropogenic stresses continue, fragmentation of primary forest is limited and the majority of forested area is in large, semi-continuous blocks made up of a mixture of primary and secondary forest, which likely allows for a preservation of biodiversity in the region. Further on-site studies are necessary to fully evaluate the level of anthropogenic stress on the region. However, compared to many tropical areas, Costa Rica is conserving forest and ecological diversity.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.