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Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, with the       leading cause of its loss being the human race and its activities. This has resulted in scientists           warning of another mass extinction with “whatever we do now likely to define the future of        humanity.” One of the biggest problems for species is how humans have transformed the               natural landscape through the building of roads, cities and infrastructure. (1)


With 247,000 miles of road, enough to “wrap                around Earth almost 10 times”, Britain is one of the most road dense parts of the world, with            hugely negative consequences for the environment and living species such as noise,             chemical and light pollution as well as causing habitat fragmentation. (2)


Habitat Fragmentation is the resulting split of an        area caused by the building of roads or other infrastructure, which become dangerous                     obstacles for species to cross if they need to move from one area to another. (3) Left behind             are smaller, unconnected areas, and many negative consequences for the environment.               These include loss of total habitat area, reduction in habitat quality and increased                   extinction risk through isolation. The increased risk of extinction is caused by a loss of genetic           diversity which results in greater vulnerability to disease. This can result in a localised                      extinction, as any species which becomes extinct in a fragmented habitat cannot easily be         repopulated from another area. Finally, habitat fragmentation can also prevent species from              being able to migrate, which is becoming of greater necessity due to climate change. (4)


‘Fragmented Land’ by Alexander J Carnie, is a            photographic project exploring habitat fragmentation, through the documentation of a          fragmented nature reserve in Cardiff, Wales. Starting in 1973 as 6 acres of land for a local             school to manage, the Howardian Local Nature Reserve has now become a 30-acre area                    containing a woodland, wildflower meadow, ponds and reedbeds. However, it is enclosed by         busy A-roads, roundabouts and fences; key causes of habitat fragmentation. (5)


Working with the concept of the photograph               being a fragment of the totality it attempts to capture; Alexander J Carnie used a variety of             mediums to both reconstruct and deconstruct the border of the Howardian Local Nature                  Reserve.


“Fragmentation involves anteriority, decay, and         loss in relation to some superseded whole. As excerpts from a world that was, photographs            are understandable as fragments, which means that they carry with them an invitation to                  reflect on and even to reconstruct former environments and totalities.” (6)


With the view of the singular photograph being         a fragment, Alexander J Carnie suggests they are an inadequate form in representing a                  totality, a reality or the entire issue of habitat fragmentation. In an attempt to counteract this,       ‘Fragmented Land’ utilises the merging of still photographs into constructed sequences as              well as combining other mediums. This results in a new totality and environment being                    constructed. One which aims to give a broader and more detailed documentation of a                      fragmented habitat.

Alexander J Carnie

1. Briggs, H. (2020). Biodiversity: Why The Nature Crisis Matters, In Five Graphics. BBC News. Available at: (Accessed 4 October 2020).

2. Weston, P. (2020). 'We’ve Covered Huge Swathes Of The UK In Tarmac': How Roads Affect Birds. The Guardian. Available at: (Accessed 5 October 2020).

3. Martin, J. (2018). What Is Habitat Fragmentation And What Does It Mean For Wildlife?. Woodland Trust. Available at: (Accessed 5 October 2020).

4. Trees for Life. (2020). Habitat Fragmentation. Available at: (Accessed 6 October 2020).

5. (2020). Howardian Local Nature Reserve - Cardiff -Welcome. Available at: (Accessed 1 October 2020).

6. Jeffrey, I. (1992). ‘Fragment and totality in photography’, History of Photography, 16(4), pp.351-357. Available at: (Accessed: 18 October 2020).

Fragmented Land Alexander J Carnie
Fragmented Land Alexander J Carnie