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Two‐Stage Recovery of Amphibian Assemblages Following Selective Logging of Tropical Forests

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Abstract

There is a lack of quantitative information on the effectiveness of selective‐logging practices in ameliorating effects of logging on faunal communities. We conducted a large‐scale replicated field study in 3 selectively logged moist semideciduous forests in West Africa at varying times after timber extraction to assess post logging effects on amphibian assemblages. Specifically, we assessed whether the diversity, abundance, and assemblage composition of amphibians changed over time for forest‐dependent species and those tolerant of forest disturbance. In 2009, we sampled amphibians in 3 forests (total of 48 study plots, each 2 ha) in southwestern Ghana. In each forest, we established plots in undisturbed forest, recently logged forest, and forest logged 10 and 20 years previously. Logging intensity was constant across sites with 3 trees/ha removed. Recently logged forests supported substantially more species than unlogged forests. This was due to an influx of disturbance‐tolerant species after logging. Simultaneously Simpson's index decreased, with increased in dominance of a few species. As time since logging increased richness of disturbance‐tolerant species decreased until 10 years after logging when their composition was indistinguishable from unlogged forests. Simpson's index increased with time since logging and was indistinguishable from unlogged forest 20 years after logging. Forest specialists decreased after logging and recovered slowly. However, after 20 years amphibian assemblages had returned to a state indistinguishable from that of undisturbed forest in both abundance and composition. These results demonstrate that even with low‐intensity logging (≤3 trees/ha) a minimum 20‐year rotation of logging is required for effective conservation of amphibian assemblages in moist semideciduous forests. Furthermore, remnant patches of intact forests retained in the landscape and the presence of permanent brooks may aid in the effective recovery of amphibian assemblages.

Recuperación de Ensambles de Anfibios en Dos Etapas Después de la Tala Selectiva de Bosques Tropicales
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Language: English

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2013

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