Habitat fragmentation is one of the major threats to species diversity. In this review, we discuss how the genetic and demographic structure of fragmented populations of herbaceous forest plant species is affected by increased genetic drift and inbreeding, reduced mate availability, altered interactions with pollinators, and changed environmental conditions through edge effects. Reported changes in population genetic and demographic structure of fragmented plant populations have, however, not resulted in large-scale extinction of forest plants. The main reason for this is very likely the long-term persistence of small and isolated forest plant populations due to prolonged clonal growth and long generation times. Consequently, the persistence of small forest plant populations in a changing landscape may have resulted in an extinction debt, that is, in a distribution of forest plant species reflecting the historical landscape configuration rather than the present one. In some cases, fragmentation appears to affect ecosystem integrity rather than short-term population viability due to the opposition of different fragmentation-induced ecological effects. We finally discuss extinction and colonization dynamics of forest plant species at the regional scale and suggest that the use of the metapopulation concept, both because of its heuristic power and conservation applications, may be fruitful.