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See detailPericopsis elata (Harms) Meeuwen in Cameroon: Ecological Check-up of an Endangered Timber Species
Bourland, Nils ULg; Kouadio, Yao Lambert; Lejeune, Philippe ULg et al

Poster (2012, June 20)

Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae – assamela, afrormosia, kokrodua) is a high valued timber species of the moist semi deciduous African forests. Because of logging which started more than 50 years ago, it is ... [more ▼]

Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae – assamela, afrormosia, kokrodua) is a high valued timber species of the moist semi deciduous African forests. Because of logging which started more than 50 years ago, it is considered as threatened and included on both IUCN Red List and CITES Appendix II. Nevertheless, there is still little information available on the species ecology: essential biological parameters controlling its population dynamics remain unknown. Our study first aims at improving the knowledge of its main ecological parameters, then at assessing the impact of selective logging on its populations in a forest management unit in Cameroon (ca 120,000 ha). After inventorying the species (sampling rate of 1.2%), mortality and growth were assessed over continuous 5 and 2-year periods in unlogged and logged areas, respectively. Phenology was monitored in the unlogged forest during 5 years (leaf shedding and flushing, flowering, ripe and unripe fruiting). The population structure followed a bell-shaped curve. Mean annual diameter increments in both environments did not differ significantly between unlogged and logged areas (0.29±0.06 0.31±0.04 cm for unlogged and logged areas, respectively). P. elata is a deciduous species that flowers at the end of the main dry season (Marsh-April). The minimum reproduction and effective flowering diameters were, respectively, 32 and 37 cm. Fruit maturation took place during 7 months (the seed rain occurs in December-January), but all unripe fruits abort 3 years out of 5. With a minimum logging diameter of 90 cm, the recovery rate computed over a 30-year period was greater than 100%. Selective logging harvested only 12.1% of the total number of seed trees and had little influence on the species biological parameters. Securing sufficient regeneration as a post-logging action is probably the most important consideration for achieving long-term sustainability. [less ▲]

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See detailDéfinition du profil écologique de l'azobé, Lophira alata, une espèce ligneuse africaine de grande importance : synthèse bibliographique et perspectives pour des recherches futures
Biwole, Achille ULg; Bourland, Nils ULg; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2012), 16(2), 217-228

Over two decades, labors made in order to promote sustainable management of African tropical forests are tackled to the lack of knowledge about this complex ecosystem. Ecological parameters of timber ... [more ▼]

Over two decades, labors made in order to promote sustainable management of African tropical forests are tackled to the lack of knowledge about this complex ecosystem. Ecological parameters of timber species are no more studied, this complicates long-term sustainable forest management. This literature review related to the ecology and silviculture of ekki, Lophira alata Banks ex C.F.Gaertn. (Ochnaceae), a main African timber species recorded as “vulnerable” in the IUCN Red List, will serve as a study’s case. The planned literature review reveals the doubt about its taxonomy, as well as the lack of understanding concerning its reproductive biology, growth conditions, population dynamics parameters, and the spatial distribution of its genetic diversity. The deficiency of knowledge about its ecological needs and the factors which have historically influenced its population dynamics explain why most silvicultural trails provide hazardous and uncertain results. Remedying these gaps in order to improve its ecological characterization and innovative silvicultural trails, would be a significant contribution to the sustainable management of its populations. [less ▲]

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See detailHow pristine is the Congo Basin forest ? Some answers from Erythrophleum spp. (Caesalpiniaceae) and Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) natural stands in southeastern Cameroon
Bourland, Nils ULg; Livingstone Smith, Alexandre; Guion, Hélène ULg et al

Poster (2012, March 01)

Erythrophleum spp. and Pericopsis elata are two important African timber taxa suffering from regeneration problems. Those light demanding trees could have established in openings made by past human ... [more ▼]

Erythrophleum spp. and Pericopsis elata are two important African timber taxa suffering from regeneration problems. Those light demanding trees could have established in openings made by past human activities (mainly slash-and-burn cultivation). Our study aimed at verifying this assumption in a 340,000 ha forest concession in southeastern Cameroon. Anthracological excavations were made alongside transects opened in patches where those taxa occur as well as the surrounding environment. Numerous charcoal elements and some pottery fragments were found in excavated soils in all studied sites. Charcoals and pieces of pottery were found within the first 100 and 50 cm of soil, respectively. According to radiocarbon dating conducted on charcoals and burnt seeds, fires occurred between 2,150 to 195 years BP. This finding was consistent with the analysis of archaeological materials decoration techniques. Our results revealed intense past anthropological activities in this area, seriously questioning the assumption of a pristine Congo Basin [less ▲]

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See detailCould current Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) patches in southeastern Cameroon be reasonably linked to past anthropogenic activities ?
Bourland, Nils ULg; Cerisier, François ULg; Livingstone Smith, Alexandre et al

Poster (2012, March 01)

Pericopsis elata is one of the most valuable African timber species. This IUCN Red Listed tree suffers from a lack of regeneration, thus its current presence provokes questioning. Our work aimed at ... [more ▼]

Pericopsis elata is one of the most valuable African timber species. This IUCN Red Listed tree suffers from a lack of regeneration, thus its current presence provokes questioning. Our work aimed at understanding its origins so as to help securing its future. This study, lead away from engineering works, was conducted in four different sites located within the natural distribution area of the species and took into account the different growing conditions were the species occurs. Our observations were based on an analysis of charcoal elements and pottery fragments discovered in subsurface layers of soils as well as on current botanical and pedological surveys. Discovered evidence of past human activities led to the assumption that this part of the Congo Basin was much more inhabited than previously thought. Some of the results obtained for P. elata could apply for other long lived light demanding species growing in the same environment. [less ▲]

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See detailDéfinition du profil écologique de l'azobé (Lophira alata Banks ex Gaertn F., Ochnaceae) dans les forêts sempervirentes du Cameroun
Biwole, Achille ULg; Bourland, Nils ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Poster (2012, February 08)

Ekki or L. alata is a commercial timber species in Guinea-Congolian region considered vulnerable (IUCN, 2011). Indeed, its population structure shows a severe lack of regeneration in some rainforests ... [more ▼]

Ekki or L. alata is a commercial timber species in Guinea-Congolian region considered vulnerable (IUCN, 2011). Indeed, its population structure shows a severe lack of regeneration in some rainforests (Palla et al., 2002). Moreover, in logging areas, insufficient knowledge about its ecological profile limits any reliable modeling of population dynamics on a long term. Consequently, original research, to improve its ecological characterization to ensure its sustainable management is conducted in moist evergreen forest in southern Cameroon. First results on population dynamics of this species show, in plots study of recruitment, a population without major deficit regeneration. On its silvicultural ability, although that estimated on plantations on parks under 2 years old, the trends of growth (ca 30 and 0.5 cm / year respectively in height and diameter) and mortality (3, 3% / year) suggest a positive perspective. Current work in relation to other topics of research should provide further insights into its ecological profile in the evergreen forests of Cameroon. [less ▲]

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See detailEcology and management of Pericopsis elata (Harms) Meeuwen (Fabaceae) populations: a review
Bourland, Nils ULg; Kouadio, Yao Lambert; Fétéké, Fousséni et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2012), 16(4), 486-498

Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) is a valuable timber species occurring in moist semi-deciduous African forests. While it is at present substantially reduced, the tree’s natural distribution previously covered ... [more ▼]

Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) is a valuable timber species occurring in moist semi-deciduous African forests. While it is at present substantially reduced, the tree’s natural distribution previously covered several distinct areas from Côte d’Ivoire to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This species has been logged since the second half of the 20th century. Because it suffers from a lack of regeneration, P. elata is now included in CITES Appendix II and is recorded as “Endangered A1cd” on the IUCN Red List. As with other long-lived light-demanding species, the survival of P. elata may have been favored by important disturbances that occurred in the Congo Basin during the last millennia. While both international trade and industrial uses of the wood of P. elata are well documented, information about its ecology are very sparse or contradictory, and even absent in some cases (e.g., regarding its effective flowering diameter). Furthermore, data describing the management of P. elata are scarce, including potential solutions to compensate for the deficit of natural regeneration. Along the same lines, genetic studies still remain at an early stage and only vague hypotheses have been offered to explain the origins of the tree’s populations. We emphasize the need for new research on those topics. Further studies would be useful in deciding whether P. elata populations can continue to be logged without the species being threatened with extinction. Finally, such research needs to target effective and inexpensive management procedures that could secure the future of the species in a logging context. [less ▲]

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See detailSylviculture in logging gaps of a Central African rainforest : first synthesis from tests with 11 timber tree species
Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Cerisier, Benjamin; Bourland, Nils ULg et al

in CIRAD Montpellier (Ed.) IUFRO International Conference , Research Priorities in Tropical Silviculture : Towards New Paradigms ?: Abstracts (2011, November 15)

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See detailLe mythe des forêts intactes - Etat des lieux
Bourland, Nils ULg; Federspiel, Michèle; Philippart, Julien ULg et al

Conference (2011, September)

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See detailA new methodological approach to try to link past disturbances and modern landscapes
Bourland, Nils ULg; Livingstone Smith, Alexandre; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

in Primate Tidings (2011, July), 24

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See detailDevelopment and characterization of microsatellite loci in Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) using a cost-efficient approach
Micheneau, Claire; Dauby, Gilles; Bourland, Nils ULg et al

in American Journal of Botany (2011)

Premise of the study : Microsatellite loci were developed in the endangered Pericopsis elata using a combination of low-cost procedures. Methods and Results : Microsatellite isolation was performed ... [more ▼]

Premise of the study : Microsatellite loci were developed in the endangered Pericopsis elata using a combination of low-cost procedures. Methods and Results : Microsatellite isolation was performed simultaneously on three distinct species through a newly available procedure that associates multiplex microsatellite enrichment and next-generation sequencing, allowing the rapid and low-cost development of microsatellite-enriched libraries through the use of a 1/32nd GS-FLX plate. Genotyping using M13-like label- ing in multiplexed reactions allowed additional cost savings. From 72 primers selected for initial screening, 21 positively amplified P. elata , and 11 showed polymorphism with two to 11 alleles per locus and a mean value of 5.4 alleles per locus. Conclusions : These microsatellite loci will be useful to further investigate the level of genetic variation within and between natural populations of P. elata in Africa. [less ▲]

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See detailSpatial aggregation of tropical trees at multiple spatial scales
Réjou-Méchain, Maxime; Flores, Olivier; Bourland, Nils ULg et al

in Journal of Ecology (2011), 99

1. In tropical forests, species distribution patterns may be strongly context-dependent owing to local stochasticity of recruitment and⁄ or to the specific history and environment of each site. Recent ... [more ▼]

1. In tropical forests, species distribution patterns may be strongly context-dependent owing to local stochasticity of recruitment and⁄ or to the specific history and environment of each site. Recent studies have reported, however, that the degree of spatial aggregation of tropical tree species is partly determined by some species traits irrespectively of site conditions, at least at a very local scale (<200 m). 2. Here, we used standardized large-scale forest inventories of five Central African tropical forests (9670 0.5-ha plots spread over 5550 km2) to quantify the spatial aggregation of 106 tropical tree species at larger spatial scales. For this purpose, we developed a new statistic to quantify the respective contributions of different spatial scales to the aggregation patterns, and we tested whether patterns were consistent across sites. We finally asked whether species characteristics related to dispersal ability, to response to disturbances and to biogeographical range could significantly explain aggregation patterns. 3. Although aggregation patterns varied substantially among sites within each species, they displayed inter-site consistencies (21–24%of the total variance explained by species identity) at the local scale (0.2–1 km) and at the mesoscale (1–10 km) but not at the landscape scale (>10 km). At the two former scales, upper taxonomical levels (family and⁄or order) significantly explained variation in the degree of species aggregation, while at the landscape scale, aggregation was entirely contingent on the site considered. Few species characteristics, except dispersal syndromes and wood density, were able to significantly explain aggregation patterns. 4. Synthesis. One of our most striking results is the high context dependence of species aggregation patterns, whatever the spatial scale considered. However, we showed that species distribution patterns can be predicted, to an extent, at spatial scales much larger than previously investigated in this context. Such patterns may be explained by traits displaying phylogenetic conservatism [less ▲]

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See detailSoil seed bank characteristics in Cameroonian rainforests and implications for post-logging recovery
Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Bauduin, Aline ULg; Bourland, Nils ULg et al

in Ecological Engineering (2011)

The soil seed bank is considered as an important component for resilience of climacic vegetation. No investigation has ever been conducted in Central African rainforests regarding this topic. We studied ... [more ▼]

The soil seed bank is considered as an important component for resilience of climacic vegetation. No investigation has ever been conducted in Central African rainforests regarding this topic. We studied the soil seed bank characteristics in relation to the standing vegetation in three Cameroonian forest zones with different disturbance regimes. There was no significant difference between sites in terms of density of the seed bank. But dissimilarities of the floristic compositions between sites were high. Overall, seeds came from 43 species including three commercial tree species. Whereas the seedlings emerging from soil samples mostly came from weedy and short-lived pioneer species, climax species predominated in the extant vegetation, leading to a very weak similarity between soil seed flora and the surrounding vegetation. Canopy openness could significantly affect the species richness of soil seed stocks but not the seed density. These results show that the soil seed bank contribution to the resilience of mature tropical forests is low. In particular, very few timber tree species could benefit from soil seed stocks for their regeneration. Therefore, the development of enrichment techniques including use of the soil seed bank as a source of tree regeneration in such a context would be irrelevant. [less ▲]

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See detailPericopsis elata (Harms) Meeuwen in southeastern Cameroon: ecological and pedological approaches to improve the management of an endangered commercial timber species
Bourland, Nils ULg; Kouadio, Yao Lambert; Colinet, Gilles ULg et al

in International Forestry Review (2010), 12(5), 111

Pericopsis elata (gregarious Fabaceae), a moist semi-deciduous hardwood logged in Central African forests, is on the IUCN Red List and in CITES Appendix II. Our study evaluated its main ecological and ... [more ▼]

Pericopsis elata (gregarious Fabaceae), a moist semi-deciduous hardwood logged in Central African forests, is on the IUCN Red List and in CITES Appendix II. Our study evaluated its main ecological and pedological parameters in Cameroon. We obtained a mean diameter increment of 0.32 ± 0.04 cm.year–1. Minimum fertile and effective fruiting diameters were 32 and 35 cm, respectively. Flowering started in March-April, and fruits ripened over 7 months. Seed rain was studied in 1 × 45 m cleared corridors in each cardinal direction around 4 isolated mother trees. Indehiscent pods (average weight: 131.6 ± 10.1 cg) were dispersed mainly to the west: 86% of the variation of the number of collected fruits could be explained by the distance to the mother tree and the direction (GLM analysis, p < 0.001). The proportion of seeds eaten by insect larvae depended on the mother tree (10–95% – χ2 test, p < 0.001). Soils were compared at a regional scale: soils with P. elata contain higher levels of C (2.2 ± 0.5 SD- g.100g–1), Fe (261 ± 83 mg.kg–1), and P (33 ± 10 mg.kg–1), and were more acidic (pH 4.0 ± 0.2). A planting method in logging gaps is currently being tested taking into account physicochemical soil parameters [less ▲]

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See detailCpDNA-based species identification and phylogeography: application to African tropical tree species
Duminil, Jérôme; Heuertz, Myriam; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg et al

in Molecular Ecology (2010), 19(24), 5469-5483

Despite the importance of the African tropical rainforests as a hotspot of biodiversity, their history and the processes that have structured their biodiversity are understood poorly. With respect to past ... [more ▼]

Despite the importance of the African tropical rainforests as a hotspot of biodiversity, their history and the processes that have structured their biodiversity are understood poorly. With respect to past demographic processes, new insights can be gained through characterizing the distribution of genetic diversity. However, few studies of this type have been conducted in Central Africa, where the identification of species in the field can be difficult. We examine here the distribution of chloroplast DNA (cpDNA) diversity in Lower Guinea in two tree species that are difficult to distinguish, Erythrophleum ivorense and Erythrophleum suaveolens (Fabaceae). By using a blind-sampling approach and comparing molecular and morphological markers, we first identified retrospectively all sampled individuals and determined the limits of the distribution of each species. We then performed a phylogeographic study using the same genetic data set. The two species displayed essentially parapatric distributions that were correlated well with the rainfall gradient, which indicated different ecological requirements. In addition, a phylogeographic structure was found for E. suaveolens and, for both species, substantially higher levels of diversity and allelic endemism were observed in the south (Gabon) than in the north (Cameroon) of the Lower Guinea region. This finding indicated different histories of population demographics for the two species, which might reflect different responses to Quaternary climate changes. We suggest that a recent period of forest perturbation, which might have been caused by humans, favoured the spread of these two species and that their poor recruitment at present results from natural succession in their forest formations. [less ▲]

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See detailEtude de l'écologie de Pericopsis elata (afrormosia) au sud-est du Cameroun
Bourland, Nils ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Scientific conference (2009, June 03)

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