Tropical forests play an important role in the global carbon cycle, as they store a large amount of carbon (C). Tropical forest deforestation has been identified as a major source of CO2 emissions, though biomass loss due to fragmentation--the creation of additional forest edges--has been largely overlooked as an additional CO2 source. Here, through the combination of remote sensing and knowledge on ecological processes, we present long-term carbon loss estimates due to fragmentation of Neotropical forests: within 10 years the Brazilian Atlantic Forest has lost 69 (±14) Tg C, and the Amazon 599 (±120) Tg C due to fragmentation alone. For all tropical forests, we estimate emissions up to 0.2 Pg C y(-1) or 9 to 24% of the annual global C loss due to deforestation. In conclusion, tropical forest fragmentation increases carbon loss and should be accounted for when attempting to understand the role of vegetation in the global carbon balance.