Article révisé par les pairs
Résumé : Habitat fragmentation reduces total forest area and increases of the number of forest patches; it constitutes one of the major threats for biodiversity. The hypothesis according to which, in forest zone, the change in population density leads a change of landscape structure was verified by means of a study area situated in the Oriental Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We determined forest cover using a classified Landsat ETM+ scene of 2001. After subdivision of the study area in 266 grid cells of 10 km × 10 km, four landscape metrics quantifying the degree of forest fragmentation were calculated: the number of forest patches, the total proportion covered by forest, the index of the largest patch, and the fractal dimension. Population density for each grid cell was based on 2000 UNEP data. Highly significant correlations between population density and the aforementioned fragmentation metrics were observed, which confirms the influence of population density on the degradation of natural ecosystems, evidenced by the appearance of isolated forest patches in the landscape. © Issouf Bamba, Yao Sadaiou Sabas Barima and Jan Bogaert.