Mammal distribution in a Central African logging concession area
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We used data collected during a routine forest inventory to prepare a management plan for a logging concession in Gabon to identify the biophysical and human factors that better explain the distribution of mammal species within the logged-over landscape. Results of a Multiple Correspondence Analysis show that the distribution of mammals within the forest concession is more influenced by roads and hunting than by the direct effects of logging. The structure of the canopy and that of the understorey are also important factors explaining the distribution of mammals within the concession. Linear regressions and Spearman correlation tests were computed to assess the significance of the correlation between the probability of encounter for a particular species and the distance from main roads. Small diurnal monkeys were found far from the villages and between 3 and 10 km from the main roads. Elephants were equally found close or far from roads and do not seem to be affected by hunting activities. Red duikers and the yellow back duikers avoided hunted zones and were significantly more abundant far from roads. Other species like gorillas, chimpanzees or forest buffaloes show no negative relationship with distance to roads and were observed close to villages. We show also how using routinely collected data without research purposes, can be used to propose practical recommendations to managers to limit the negative impacts of logging activities within the concession.
KeywordsMammal distribution Logging concession Eco-geographical factors Hunting Roads Gabon
We would like to thank the Compagnie des Bois du Gabon (CBG), which kindly accepted to share the database used in this study. We also thank Benoit Demarquez and Cyril Pelissier from TEREA (for the elaboration of the Geographical Information System that was used to build mammal distribution maps and for their relevant comments on this paper.
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