Science writer Martin Enserink summarizes recent research on the creation of new species at the edge of
rainforests. Smith et al (1997) report on such a study in Cameroon and address the question of how
isolated populations of species must be before they begin to develop physical differences and hence new
species. Ecotones (transition zones between one ecosystem, such as rainforest, to another, such as
savanna) may be particularly important in this process of generating biodiversity. If so, these areas
deserve more intense research on their role in species creation.
Smith, Thomas B., Robert K. Wayne, Derek J. Girman and Michael W. Bruford, 1997: A role for ecotones in
generating rainforest biodiversity. Science, 276, 1855-1857.