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Copyright © 2005 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance.
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Nasi, R. 2005. Potential methodological flaw in the examination of the effects of logging. Ecology and Society 10(2): r2. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss2/resp2/

Response to Baidya Roy et al. 2005. “Can Logging in Equatorial Africa Affect Adjacent Parks?

Potential Methodological Flaw in the Examination of the Effects of Logging

Robert Nasi1

1Center for International Forestry Research

Key words: central Africa; logged-over forests; logging impacts

In their paper, Baidya Roy et al. (2005) conclude that: “Our simulations suggest that extensive logging in the timber concessions in western equatorial Africa could affect the rainfall in adjacent national parks and other protected areas.” Using sophisticated climate modeling procedures, the authors argue their case convincingly, and I cannot but agree with their statement: “It is therefore important to assess the potential impact of logging on the regional climate as a whole.” However, their results are totally flawed by the methodological choice to assimilate logged-over forests to grasslands in the logging concessions of Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Clearly, logging activities create some disturbances and disruptions in the ecosystem: roads are opened, trees are felled, heavy machinery moves in and out the forest, access is increased, and with it, hunting pressure increases, etc. (e.g., see Grieser-Johns 1997, Fimbel et al. 2001, or Hall et al. 2003 for reviews on the impacts of logging). Logging is therefore not a benign activity. However, logging in Central Africa is highly selective, removing generally less than one tree per hectare for average wood productivity of 5–6 m³/ha (Estève 1983, Jonkers 2000). The residual logged-over forest is therefore still a dense forest with an average canopy cover more than 75–80% and not grassland! This should be clearly acknowledged by the authors, because I suspect that it would have a tremendous influence on the results of their simulations.


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Baidya Roy, S., P. D. Walsh, and J. W. Lichstein. 2005. Can logging in equatorial Africa affect adjacent parks? Ecology and Society 10(1): 6. [online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol10/iss1/art6/.

Estève, J. 1983. La destruction du couvert forestier consécutive à l’exploitation forestière de bois d’oeuvre en forêt dense tropicale humide africaine ou américaine. Bois et Forêts des Tropiques 201:77-84.

Fimbel, R. A., A. Grajal, and J. G. Robinson, editors. 2001. The cutting edge: conserving wildlife in managed tropical forest. Columbia University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Grieser Johns, A. 1997. Timber production and biodiversity conservation in tropical rain forests. Cambridge Studies in Applied Ecology and Resource Management. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Hall, J. S., D. J. Harris, V. Medjibe, and P. S. Ashton. 2003. The effects of selective logging on forest structure and tree species composition in a central African forest: implications for management of conservation areas. Forest Ecology and Management 183:249-264.

Jonkers, W., editor. 2000. Logging, damage and efficiency: a study on the feasibility of Reduced Impact Logging in Cameroon. Final report, Tropenbos-Cameroon Programme, Kribi (Cameroon). Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Address of Correspondent:
Robert Nasi
CIRAD-ForÍt, TA 10 / D
Campus International de Baillarguet
34398 Montpellier, Cedex 5, France

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