The Problem of Forest and Ecosystem Loss

Introduction

In writing research paper, the author has to follow some basic principles for the paper to meet the required standards. Among these elements are stating the hypothesis of the study, literature review, using credible research methods in collecting and analyzing data, presenting results well, giving a viable discussion that reflects findings, and a conclusion that qualifies or nullifies the hypothesis. These are some of the basic elements, which the author has to consider.

Analysis

The hypothesis of this paper is, “reforestation can be used to extend and create buffer zones around natural forests, and to link remaining forest fragments that could then act as reservoirs from where native species could colonize the new habitats” (Ganzhorn, Goodman, Ramanamanjato, Ralison, Rakotondravony & Rakotosamimanana, 2001, p. 265). This hypothesis warrants research due to the nature of the problem it addresses. The fact that natural habitats are under threat suffices this research to establish whether reforestation can be taken in as a mitigation factor.

There is decent background information, which justifies the hypothesis for it is clear that reduction of land fragments under forest cover, has been on the decrease in Madagascar hence threatening forest-dependant craniates like Lemur. There is mention of how land under forest cover has been receding decade after the other. This recession, coupled with land fragmentation, is the force behind this research. The background information comes from peer-reviewed sources like international journal of primatology among others. Reviewing literature is a fundamental aspect of research paper writing and the author has utilized that efficiently.

The taxon sampling is decent to test hypothesis because Lemur, as mentioned are among the largest forest-dependant craniates in the region thus they act as “umbrella species.” Therefore, any response by these vertebrates will indicate with high degree of certainty how other species will respond. The methods used were not adequate to test the hypothesis. This is because the data was theoretical with so many assumptions. There appears to be insufficient data to enable the researchers to carry out meaningful research. The author mentions in many instances that, “it was assumed’, and this renders the report scientifically insignificant because science is all about tangible evidence to ascertain or disapprove hypotheses.

Data analysis was appropriate and adequate. Given the nature of the study, whereby the interest is to determine how increasing land fragments under forest would create buffer zones, then this data was analyzed adequately. Again, analyzing data for different forest sizes ties closely to the objective of the study. There are graphs showing the effects of fragmentation by comparing a given domain and forest type to a comparison block that represents a sample of a large forest void of fragments. There is a table also analyzing how different types of forests would support varying body mass of different species. This is important in determining how the projected forest cover would support other species than lemur maybe with differing body masses.

Results are not well presented. The bar graphs used are not explained and they lack keys to show what symbol represents what component. It is very hard to draw any conclusion from the results. Even though in data collection there is mentioning of effects of fragmentation, there is no reflection of the same in results. The results are very shallow. For instance, in determining populations that were not viable for more than 40 years, the graph used does not have labeled X-axis variables. No graphs used are titled and this questions the authenticity of the results; therefore, the results are poorly presented.

On the other side, the discussion is shallow and does not relate to the original hypothesis. The research was to determine how increasing fragments under forest cover through reforestation would enable native species to colonize new habitats. This discussion is not viable and believable. It focuses a lot on what type of forest will sustain what type of lemur hence failing to bring out clearly the importance of the research. Results are combined with the discussion making it hard to determine what part represents results and what part of the discussion elaborates on the results. At least there could have been a separate section for discussion. There is no mention of how reforestation will help in buffering natural habitats.

Finally, the paper does not have a conclusion. It is very hard for any reader to state whether the research met its objectives or not. However, the author left room for further analysis by stating a problem that needs to be addressed in the future. This is important for continuity of research on the same subject.

Conclusion

This research paper contains both weaknesses and strengths; however, the weaknesses seem to outweigh the strengths. There is a clear and strong hypothesis with a good selection of taxon to represent other species. However, the researchers used many assumptions in collecting data possibly due to lack of enough of it. Data analysis is adequate but the results are poorly presented with a shallow discussion that does not focus on the hypothesis hence making the research scientifically insignificant. Conclusion is conspicuously missing and this echoes the incompetence of this research.

References

Ganzhorn, J., Goodman, S., Ramanamanjato, B., Ralison, J., Rakotondravony, D., & Rakotosamimanana, B. (2001). Effects of Fragmentation and Assessing Minimum Viable Populations of Lemurs in Madagascar. International Journal of Primatology. 40(1): 265-272