Topics: Ecosystems

The Biological Dynamics of Forest Fragments (BDFF, formerly the Minimum Critical Size of Ecosystems) Project, begun in 1978, constitutes the world’s largest-scale and longest-running study of habitat fragmentation. The project is operated cooperatively by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the National Museum of Natural History and Brazil’s National Institute for Amazonian Research.

Located in the central Amazon near the city of Manaus, the BDFFP was initiated in 1979 to assess the impacts of fragmentation on rainforest animals, plants, and ecological and ecosystem processes. Research in the BDFFP’s 1000 square-kilometer study area is conducted by a combination of staff scientists, Brazilian and foreign graduate students, and visiting researchers. In addition to its research mission, the BDFFP sponsors a number of education programs each year for Latin American university students and decision-makers.

To date, the BDFFP has produced well over 500 publications and 120 graduate these, and has trained hundreds of Amazonian scientists. In 2000 the BDFFP was awarded the prestigious Ford/Conservation International Award for Conservation Research and Training in Brazil.