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Beyond species richness and biomass: Impact of selective logging and silvicultural treatments on the functional composition of a neotropical forest

  • Yguel, Benjamin
  • Piponiot-Laroche, Camille
  • Mirabel, Ariane
  • Dourdain, Aurélie
  • Herault, Bruno
  • Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie
  • Forget, Pierre-Michel
  • Fontaine, Colin
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2019
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Tropical forests harbor the greatest terrestrial biodiversity and provide various ecosystem services. The increase of human activities on these forests, among which logging, makes the conservation of biodiversity and associated services strongly dependent on the sustainability of these activities. However the indicators commonly used to assess the impact of forest exploitation, namely species richness and biomass, provide a limited understanding of their sustainability. Here, we assessed the sustainability of common forest exploitation in the Guiana Shield studying the recovery of two ecosystem services i.e. carbon storage and wood stock, and an ecosystem function i.e. seed dispersal by animals. Specifically, we compared total and commercial biomass, as well as functional composition in seed size of animal-dispersed species in replicated forest plots before and 27 years after exploitation. Species richness is also studied to allow comparison. While species richness was not affected by forest exploitation, total and commercial biomass as well as seed size of animal-dispersed species decreased 27 years after exploitation, similarly to forests affected by hunting. These results show that ecosystem services and function likely did not recover even at the lowest intensity of forest exploitation studied, questioning the sustainability of the most common rotation-cycle duration applied in the tropics.

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