References of "Doucet, Jean-Louis"
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See detailHigh spatial resolution of late-Holocene human activities in the moist forests of central Africa using soil charcoal and charred botanical remains
Morin, Julie ULg; Biwolé, Achille; Gorel, Anaïs ULg et al

in Holocene (in press)

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities ... [more ▼]

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities have hardly been investigated with satisfactory accuracy. In this study, we propose to characterize past human activities at local scale by using a systematic quantitative and qualitative methodology based on soil charcoal and charred botanical remains. A total of 88 equidistant test-pits were excavated along six transects in two contrasting forest types in southern Cameroon. Charred botanical remains were collected by water-sieving and sorted by type (wood charcoals, oil palm endocarps, and unidentified seeds). A total of 50 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 14C dates were also obtained. Results showed that charred macroremains were found at multiple places in the forest, suggesting scattered human activities, which were distributed into two main periods (Phase A: 2300-1300 BP – Phase B: 580 BP to the present). Charred botanical remains indicated two types of land use: (i) domestic, with oil palm endocarps most often associated with potsherds (villages) and (ii) agricultural, with charcoal as probable remnant of slash-and-burn cultivation (fields). Oil palm endocarp abundance decreased with distance from the identified human settlements. Our methodology allowed documenting, at high resolution, the spatial and temporal patterns of human activities in central African moist forests and could be applied to other tropical contexts. [less ▲]

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See detailLate Pleistocene molecular dating of past population fragmentation and demographic changes in African rain forest tree species supports the forest refuge hypothesis
Duminil, Jérôme; Mona, Stefano; Mardulyn, Patrick et al

in Journal of Biogeography (in press)

Aim : Phylogeographical signatures of past population fragmentation and demographic change have been reported in several African rain forest trees. These signatures have usually been interpreted in the ... [more ▼]

Aim : Phylogeographical signatures of past population fragmentation and demographic change have been reported in several African rain forest trees. These signatures have usually been interpreted in the light of the Pleistocene forest refuge hypothesis, although dating these events has remained impracticable because of inadequate genetic markers. We assess the timing of interspecific and intraspecific genetic differentiation and demographic changes within two rain forest Erythrophleum tree species (Fabaceae: Caesalpinioideae). Location : Tropical forests of Upper Guinea (West Africa) and Lower Guinea (Atlantic Central Africa). Methods : Six single-copy nuclear genes were used to characterize the phylogeographical patterns of the parapatric sister species Erythrophleum suaveolens (characteristic of semi-deciduous or gallery forests) and Erythrophleum ivorense (characteristic of evergreen forests). The number of gene pools within each species was determined and the timings of their divergence and past demographic changes were estimated using Bayesian-based coalescent approaches. Results : Three geographically separated gene pools were identified within E. suaveolens, and a single gene pool was inferred in E. ivorense. All gene pools show signatures of demographic bottlenecks concomitant with the last glacial period (c. 120–12 ka). Species-tree inferences show that the two species diverged c. 600 ka, whereas the divergence between E. suaveolens gene pools was dated to the late Pleistocene (first divergence c. 120 ka, second c. 60 ka). Main conclusions : (1) Molecular dating of demographic changes of two African tropical forest tree species is consistent with the Pleistocene forest refuge hypothesis. (2) Tree species from Guinean evergreen tropical forests might have been less affected by past climate change than semi-deciduous species. (3) Our phylogeographical data support a recent date (Holocene) of the last opening of the Dahomey Gap. [less ▲]

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See detailThe determinants of tropical forest deciduousness: disentangling the effects of rainfall and geology in central Africa
Ouedraogo, Dakis-Yaoba ULg; Fayolle, Adeline ULg; Gourlet-Fleury, Sylvie et al

in Journal of Ecology (2016)

1. Understanding the environmental determinants of forests deciduousness i.e. proportion of deciduous trees in a forest stand, is of great importance when predicting the impact of ongoing global climate ... [more ▼]

1. Understanding the environmental determinants of forests deciduousness i.e. proportion of deciduous trees in a forest stand, is of great importance when predicting the impact of ongoing global climate change on forests. In this study, we examine (i) how forest deciduousness varies in relation to rainfall and geology, and (ii) whether the influence of geology on deciduousness could be related to differences in soil fertility and water content between geological substrates. 2. The study was conducted in mixed moist semi-deciduous forests in the northern part of the Congo basin. We modelled the response of forest deciduousness to the severity of the dry season across four contrasting geological substrates (sandstone, alluvium, metamorphic and basic rocks). For this, we combined information on forest composition at genus level based on commercial forest inventories (62 624 0.5 ha plots scattered over 6 million of ha), leaf habit, and rainfall and geological maps. We further examined whether substrates differ in soil fertility and water-holding capacity using soil data from 37 pits in an area that was, at the time, relatively unexplored. 3. Forest deciduousness increased with the severity of the dry season, and this increase strongly varied with the geological substrate. Geology was found to be three times more important than the rainfall regime in explaining the total variation in deciduousness. The four substrates differed in soil properties, with higher fertility and water-holding capacity on metamorphic and basic rocks than on sandstone and alluvium. The increase in forest deciduousness was stronger on the substrates that formed resource-rich clay soils (metamorphic and basic rocks) than on substrates that formed resource-poor sandy soils (sandstone and alluvium). 4. Synthesis. We found evidence that tropical forest deciduousness is the result of both the competitive advantage of deciduous species in climates with high rainfall seasonality, and the persistence of evergreen species on resource-poor soils. Our findings offer a clear illustration of wellknown theoretical leaf carbon economy models, explaining the patterns in the dominance of evergreen versus deciduous species. And, this large-scale assessment of the interaction between climate and geology in determining forest deciduousness may help to improve future predictions of vegetation distribution under climate change scenarios. In central Africa, forest is likely to respond differently to variation in rainfall and/or evapotranspiration depending on the geological substrate. [less ▲]

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See detailWhat Are the Impacts of Deforestation on the Harvest of Non-Timber Forest Products in Central Africa?
Gillet, Pauline ULg; Vermeulen, Cédric ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg et al

in Forests (2016), 7(5),

The objective of the study is to evaluate the impact of forest transition on non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvesting in Central Africa. We analyze the evolution of several parameters, including ... [more ▼]

The objective of the study is to evaluate the impact of forest transition on non-timber forest product (NTFP) harvesting in Central Africa. We analyze the evolution of several parameters, including distance from NTFP harvest site to road, proportion of dietary intake and villagers’ incomes. The research is based on field surveys, participatory mapping and the geolocation of activities in three study sites representing different stages along the Mather’s forest transition curve: (i) intact forest; (ii) partially degraded forest; and (iii) small areas of degraded forest with plantations of useful trees. The results show that the maximum distance from harvest site to road is higher in Site 2 compared to Site 1 as a consequence of a lower availability of NTFPs; and that this distance is significantly lower in Site 3 due to a drastically smaller village territory. The diversity of bushmeat decreases as game evolves from large to small species, commensurate with the progression of forest transition. As a consequence, there is also a reduction in the proportion of these products represented both in household dietary intake and cash income. This analysis establishes a strong link between the Mather’s forest transition curve and a decline in the importance of NTFPs in village production and livelihoods. [less ▲]

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See detailEnrichment of Central African logged forests with high-value tree species: testing a new approach to regenerating degraded forests
Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg; Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Ligot, Gauthier ULg et al

in International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management (2016)

In natural forests of Central Africa, several studies indicate a dramatic decrease in commercial trees, including species of concern for conservation. Enrichment planting with these species will favor ... [more ▼]

In natural forests of Central Africa, several studies indicate a dramatic decrease in commercial trees, including species of concern for conservation. Enrichment planting with these species will favor both the long-term recovery of their populations and biodiversity conservation in logged forests. In this study, we analyzed the survival and growth of 23 species in plantations. Fourteen 0.2–1.1 ha mixed species plantations consisting of single-species 15 × 15 m blocks were studied for 5 years in a logging concession of southeastern Cameroon. The plantation design considered both species light requirements and sensitivity to damage by pests. To identify the best species for enrichment planting, we assessed both species performance and plantation costs. We also tested for relationships between species traits and species performance. Mean annual diameter growth increments ranged from 1.67 to 42.9 mm. No significant relationship was found between growth and survival. Herbivory by wild Bovidae was the main cause of mortality and should be carefully considered in rehabilitation efforts. We found a significant negative relationship between wood density and maximum growth rate. The other traits tested were not good predictors of species performance in plantations. The two best-performing species, Triplochiton scleroxylon and Terminalia superba, could reach the minimum cutting diameter during a 30-year cutting cycle. Costs were high and mechanized site preparation is suggested to reduce them. Widespread adoption of such plantations will only occur if financial incentives or national regulations for assuring regeneration are implemented. [less ▲]

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See detailTaller trees, denser stands and greater biomass in semi-deciduous than in evergreen lowland central African forests
Fayolle, Adeline ULg; Loubota Panzou, Grâce Jopaul ULg; Drouet, Thomas et al

in Forest Ecology & Management (2016), 374

Accurate height-diameter allometry is crucial for the estimation of forest biomass and carbon stocks. Tree height measurements over a large range of diameters and species are urgently needed in the ... [more ▼]

Accurate height-diameter allometry is crucial for the estimation of forest biomass and carbon stocks. Tree height measurements over a large range of diameters and species are urgently needed in the tropics, specifically in central Africa, for the development of locally derived height-diameter allometric equations and the conversion of forest inventory data into biomass estimates, and for the validation of remotely sensed canopy height that mostly rely on a few specific field sites. In this study, we aimed to identify the variation in height-diameter allometry of tropical trees between forest types and among species in central Africa, and we examined the consequences for biomass estimation. Height and diameter were measured for a total of 521 trees over a large range of diameters in two forest types in southern Cameroon, 10–240 cm in the evergreen forest and 11–182 cm in the semi-deciduous forest. A total of ten allometric models including asymptotic and non-asymptotic models were fitted to the heightdiameter data. Measured tree diameters, grouped into 10 cm wide diameter classes up to 150, from commercial forest inventory data (0.5 ha plots, n = 2101 and n = 5152, respectively in the evergreen and in the semi-deciduous forests) were converted into biomass estimates using general allometric models with and without including our site-specific height-diameter allometry. Though debated in the literature, our results supported a saturation of tree height with tree diameter both at site and species level, with asymptotic models better depicting the height-diameter allometry. Height-diameter allometry significantly differed between forest types and these local height-diameter equations also differed from published equations. For a given diameter, trees tended to be taller in the semi-deciduous forest than in the evergreen forest, as already reported between moist and wet forests in pantropical studies. Similar trends were reported within species for the three species shared by both forest types, suggesting an environmental control of tree allometry. Because of the low performance of the bioclimatic stress variable to predict tree height and of the slight soil differences between the two forest types, the environmental determinants of height-diameter allometry remain to be explored. In addition to tree allometry variation, structural differences (basal area and density) were also identified between the two forest types using commercial forest inventory data at genus level, and both allometry and forest structure (taller trees and denser stands) contributed to the greater biomass per hectare of the semi-deciduous forest. [less ▲]

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See detailL’aménagement forestier au Congo engendre-t-il plus de déforestation ?
Karsenty, Alain; Cerutti, P.; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg et al

E-print/Working paper (2016)

Un article publié dans Land Use Policy début 2016 arrive à la conclusion a priori étonnante que la déforestation serait, au Congo, plus élevée dans les concessions forestières avec des plans d’aménagement ... [more ▼]

Un article publié dans Land Use Policy début 2016 arrive à la conclusion a priori étonnante que la déforestation serait, au Congo, plus élevée dans les concessions forestières avec des plans d’aménagement que dans celles qui n’en ont pas. L’analyse d’évaluation d’impact qui a conduit ces chercheurs à un tel résultat se base sur un appariement de parcelles sélectionnées aléatoirement dans des concessions avec et sans plans d’aménagement. Ces chercheurs indiquent que le réseau de routes forestières plus développé dans les concessions aménagées serait un des facteurs explicatifs. L’autre facteur serait le développement local lié aux cahiers des charges des plans d’aménagement, lequel conduirait à une augmentation de la population dans ces concessions et à une déforestation accrue. Notre groupe d’une vingtaine de chercheurs connaissant bien la problématique de l’aménagement forestier en Afrique centrale s’est penché à son tour sur cette question et a analysé la déforestation au niveau des concessions sur le même intervalle de temps. Nos résultats montrent, cette fois, que la déforestation est moins importante dans les concessions avec un plan d’aménagement que dans les autres. Et si l’on compare à production égale la déforestation dans des concessions avec et sans plan d’aménagement, il apparaît que les UFA aménagées sont environ deux fois plus « efficaces », c’est-à-dire qu’on observe deux fois moins de perte de couvert forestier par mètre-cube produit. Nous en concluons qu’il est nécessaire d’analyser précisément la dynamique des différents facteurs de déforestation, et éviter d’imputer mécaniquement à l’aménagement forestier un rôle excessif dans l’évolution dans un sens ou dans l’autre du taux de déboisement. Enfin, toute évaluation doit rappeler que les effets de l’aménagement forestier doivent être mesurés sur le long terme : l’objectif de l’aménagement est de permettre une mise en valeur forestière durable, en conservant l’essentiel du capital productif pour éviter, autant que possible, la conversion à d’autres usages après les cycles de coupe initiaux. [less ▲]

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See detailRelationships between population density, fine-scale genetic structure, mating system and pollen dispersal in a timber tree from African rainforests
Duminil, Jérôme; Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Kaviriri, D.K. et al

in Heredity (2016), 116

Owing to the reduction of population density and/or the environmental changes it induces, selective logging could affect the demography, reproductive biology and evolutionary potential of forest trees ... [more ▼]

Owing to the reduction of population density and/or the environmental changes it induces, selective logging could affect the demography, reproductive biology and evolutionary potential of forest trees. This is particularly relevant in tropical forests where natural population densities can be low and isolated trees may be subject to outcross pollen limitation and/or produce low-quality selfed seeds that exhibit inbreeding depression. Comparing reproductive biology processes and genetic diversity of populations at different densities can provide indirect evidence of the potential impacts of logging. Here, we analysed patterns of genetic diversity, mating system and gene flow in three Central African populations of the self-compatible legume timber species Erythrophleum suaveolens with contrasting densities (0.11, 0.68 and 1.72 adults per ha). The comparison of inbreeding levels among cohorts suggests that selfing is detrimental as inbred individuals are eliminated between seedling and adult stages. Levels of genetic diversity, selfing rates (∼16%) and patterns of spatial genetic structure (Sp ∼ 0.006) were similar in all three populations. However, the extent of gene dispersal differed markedly among populations: the average distance of pollen dispersal increased with decreasing density (from 200m in the high-density population to 1000m in the low-density one). Overall, our results suggest that the reproductive biology and genetic diversity of the species are not affected by current logging practices. However, further investigations need to be conducted in low-density populations to evaluate (1) whether pollen limitation may reduce seed production and (2) the regeneration potential of the species. [less ▲]

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See detailShort term impact of selective logging on a western lowland gorilla population
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Tagg, Nikki; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg et al

in Forest Ecology & Management (2016), 364

Selective timber production is implemented over a large proportion of the world’s tropical forests. Within these forest ecosystems, the frugivore community contributes important ecological services ... [more ▼]

Selective timber production is implemented over a large proportion of the world’s tropical forests. Within these forest ecosystems, the frugivore community contributes important ecological services through animal-mediated seed dispersal. However, there is no clear understanding of the impacts of logging on wildlife or of the extent to which seed dispersal is preserved in logged forests. Given its tendency for nesting in light gaps, the western lowland gorilla is likely to provide directed-dispersal services to a wide range of tree species. Production forests preserved from poaching have been reported to harbor high densities of gorillas, but the monitoring of gorilla populations subjected to logging is poorly documented. This study investigated gorilla density and nesting behavior after timber exploitation in a logging concession in southeast Gabon. Nest count censuses were performed on line transects, before and after the second felling cycle. Gorilla density dropped from 1.5 (116.7 nests km 2, 95% CI = 83.4–163.5) to 1.0 (64.9 nests km 2, % CI = 32.6–129.5) weaned gorilla km 2 4–6 months after logging, then rose to 2.6 (176.3 nests km 2, 95% CI = 113.5–274.1) gorillas km 2 9–11 months after logging. A consistent preference for nesting in open canopy terra firma forest was observed during all censuses. This study demonstrates the short-term resilience of the western lowland gorilla to selective timber harvesting, and argues that they offer a continued contribution to directed-dispersal services within months after logging. Although a long-term monitoring of gorillas in a logged forest should be undertaken, the role of this species in logged forest recovery is thought to be important. The preservation of gorilla should receive particular consideration by forest managers. [less ▲]

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See detailBiomass and carbon stocks of tropical African forests: synthesis and perspectives
Loubota Panzou, Grâce Jopaul ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg; Loumeto, Jean-Joël et al

Poster (2015, November 26)

Quantifying the biomass and carbon stocks contained in tropical forests has become an international priority for the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism. Forest biomass is estimated through three ... [more ▼]

Quantifying the biomass and carbon stocks contained in tropical forests has become an international priority for the implementation of the REDD+ mechanism. Forest biomass is estimated through three successive levels: the tree, the stand and the region level. This study reviews the state of the art on the estimation of biomass and carbon stocks contained in tropical African forests. This review highlights that only few allometric equations, equations used for estimating biomass of the tree from non-destructive measurements (diameter, height), have been established for tropical African forests. At the stand level, this synthesis highlights the spatial and temporal variations in biomass between forests types in Central and Eastern Africa. While biomass recovery after disturbance (logging for instance) is rather quick, there is still a lot of uncertainity on the spatial variation in biomass, and there is no consensus on a regional biomass map. The quality of biomass mapping in tropical Africa stronly depends on the various sensors used (optical, RADAR or LIDAR), the allometric equation used to convert forest inventory data and sampling design. Based on the lack of precision of available allometric equations and forest inventory data a large spatial scale, many uncertainties persist on estimating the biomass and carbon stocks contained in the African tropical forests. It is important to develop reference sites (both allometry and forest inventory) to provide accurate biomass estimates for an effective implementation of the REDD+. [less ▲]

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See detailThe last 1,000 years in the Northern Congo Basin
Morin, Julie ULg; Fayolle, Adeline ULg; Favier, Charly et al

Conference (2015, November)

Review of the events that happened in the northern Congo basin during the last 1,000 yr. Positive impact of human disturbances on the regeneration of light-demanding trees. Negative impact of the European ... [more ▼]

Review of the events that happened in the northern Congo basin during the last 1,000 yr. Positive impact of human disturbances on the regeneration of light-demanding trees. Negative impact of the European colonization and following events on human populations and tree regeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailÉcologie et gestion des espèces multi-usages du genre Erythrophleum (Fabaceae-Caesalpinioideae) en Afrique (synthèse bibliographique)
Gorel, Anaïs ULg; Fayolle, Adeline; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2015), 19

Littérature. Erythrophleum ivorense, E. suaveolens, E. africanum et E. lasianthum diffèrent morphologiquement et sont présentes dans des aires climatiques distinctes. Elles sont héliophiles non pionnières ... [more ▼]

Littérature. Erythrophleum ivorense, E. suaveolens, E. africanum et E. lasianthum diffèrent morphologiquement et sont présentes dans des aires climatiques distinctes. Elles sont héliophiles non pionnières (E. ivorense et E. suaveolens) ou pionnières (E. africanum). La dispersion primaire est ballochore. Les graines présentent une période de dormance et peuvent rester plusieurs années dans le sol. La phénologie est régulière et annuelle. La croissance annuelle moyenne varie entre les espèces, de la plus élevée pour E. ivorense (0,65 cm par an) à la plus faible pour E. africanum (0,16 cm par an). Elles sont largement utilisées dans la médecine traditionnelle. Seules E. ivorense et E. suaveolens sont exploitées pour le bois d’oeuvre et soumises à des normes d’exploitation et des tests sylvicoles. Conclusions. Les données sur l’écologie des espèces du genre Erythrophleum sont globalement mieux renseignées pour E. ivorense et E. suaveolens en raison de leur importance économique. Cette synthèse a permis de mettre en évidence certains manques de connaissances notamment sur la phénologie (relation avec le climat, périodes de fructifications), les diamètres minimums de fructification et les mécanismes de levée de dormance naturelle des graines. Remédier à ces lacunes contribuerait notablement à améliorer les méthodes de gestion des populations de ces espèces. [less ▲]

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See detailSeeing Central African forests through their largest trees
Bastin, Jean-François ULg; Barbier, Nicolas; Réjou-Méchain, Maxime et al

in Scientific Reports (2015)

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which ... [more ▼]

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailLate-Holocene tropical moist-forests of southeastern Cameroon: some insight from soil charcoal analysis
Morin, Julie ULg; Biwolé, Achille; Bourland, Nils et al

Conference (2015, August)

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. Little is known, however, about past vegetation in this region that remains underexplored ... [more ▼]

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. Little is known, however, about past vegetation in this region that remains underexplored (Vleminckx et al. 2014; Morin-Rivat et al. 2014). Determining the past specific composition of these forests could allow bringing insights into their evolution over time and providing data about their resilience capacity facing global change. We performed a pedoanthracological analysis in the semi-deciduous forests of southeastern Cameroon. We excavated 53 test pits of 53 50 × 50 × 60 cm in plots of botanical inventory along a NS 80-km long mega-transect that followed a vegetation gradient. We sorted and quantified charred macrobotanical remains by layers of 10 cm, then identified species from wood charcoals. We used the InsideWood database, implemented with 163 new anatomical descriptions of woods present in the study area by using the reference collection of African woods of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Belgium). Finally, we obtained 25 radiocarbon dates on charcoals and oil palm endocarps. Results showed that repeated fire events occurred across the study area during the last 2500 years, soon after the well-documented “rainforest crisis” (e.g. Lézine et al. 2013). The analyzed charcoals are likely human-induced regarding evidence of associated human settlements (e.g. potsherds). Aged were distributed into two time periods: the Early Iron Age (2300-1300 BP) and the Late Iron Age (700-100 BP) with an intermediate hiatus in human occupation (see e.g. Wotzka 2006; Morin-Rivat et al. 2014). Specific composition during both periods did not strongly differ from current composition, which is now dominated by light-demanding canopy trees belonging to old-growth semi-deciduous Celtis forests (Gond et al. 2013; Fayolle et al. 2014). This argues in favor of the maintenance of light-demanding tree species by anthropogenic activities, such as slash-and-burn shifting cultivation. We conclude that moist forests have a good resilience capacity regarding moderate and scattered disturbances. These forests can nonetheless be deeply impacted by land-use intensification (e.g. degraded forests along roads and close to cities; Gond et al. 2013). [less ▲]

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See detailEvolutionary drivers of species delimitation in African polyploid complex trees genus Afzelia: insights from molecular phylogeny
Donkpegan, Segbedji ULg; Duminil, Jérôme; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Conference (2015, July 13)

Background:. Molecular markers can improve our knowledge of the rain forest biodiversity, especially to decipher species evolution and delimitation within genera. In this study, we investigated ... [more ▼]

Background:. Molecular markers can improve our knowledge of the rain forest biodiversity, especially to decipher species evolution and delimitation within genera. In this study, we investigated evolutionary relationships among the Afzelia genus, an important tropical timber taxon in Africa.. Method: We used nuclear and chloroplast DNA associated with partial plastome sequences data to infer phylogenetic relationships among the six broadly distributed species of the genus: A. africana and A. quanzensis (savannah species), A. bipindensis, A. bella, A. pachyloba and A. parviflora (forest species). Using microsatellite markers (SSR), we also applied a clustering analysis (STRUCTURE) to verify whether the current taxonomic species delimitation matches the biological species concept. Result and discussion: Our SSR data showed for the first time that savannah species were diploid while forest species were tetraploid. Nuclear DNA separates diploid and tetraploid species in two distinct cladesbut plastid markers show that one diploid species forms a well-supported clade with the tetraploids, suggesting historical hybridization, possibly in relation with genome duplication (polyploidization) and habitat shift from dry to rain forests. The genetic structure observed with SSR confirms the taxonomic delimitation of the two diploid species and one tetraploid species (A. pachyloba). It also suggests the existence of a single Afzelia forest species in West Africa, and the presence of two distint species within the A. bipindensis taxon, with potential hybridization with A. bella. Conclusion: The evolutionary history of the genus Afzelia is complex and the potential link between polyploidization and habitat shift needs further investigation. Our data also show that species delimitation must be revisited, at least among three of the four rain forest species. [less ▲]

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See detailIs western lowland gorilla a good gardener? Effect of fecal matrix and deposition at nest sites on seedling growth
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Brostaux, Yves ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg et al

Conference (2015, June 25)

The Western lowland gorilla is a key dispersal agent, which disperses viable seeds of various size. In consequence of its nesting behavior, gorilla deposits half of its feces, and therefore about half of ... [more ▼]

The Western lowland gorilla is a key dispersal agent, which disperses viable seeds of various size. In consequence of its nesting behavior, gorilla deposits half of its feces, and therefore about half of dispersed seeds, at nest sites. This study was conducted in a logging concession of southeast Gabon where 78 % of the observed nest sites (n=183) were installed in open canopy terra firma forest. The aim of this research was to assess if seed deposition by gorillas (i) in fecal matrix and (ii) at nest sites is advantageous for seedling growth. To assess the effect of fecal matrix, seeds of Santiria trimera (Burseraceae), Chrysophyllum lacourtianum (Sapotaceae) and Plagiostyles africana (Euphorbiaceae) collected in gorilla feces were sown with and without fecal matrix in a nursery at the study site. The impact of seed deposition at nest sites on seedling growth was evaluated in situ. Seedlings of Santiria trimera and Dacryodes normandii (Burseraceae) were installed at nest sites and at closed canopy terra firma forest sites. For both type of trials, seedling growth was monitored. [less ▲]

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See detailAn estimate of the number of tropical tree species
Slik, J.W. Ferry; Arroyo-Rodriguez, Victor; Aiba, Shin-Ichiro et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2015), 112(24), 7472-7477

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory ... [more ▼]

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher’s alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼40,000 and ∼53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼19,000–25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼4,500–6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa. [less ▲]

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See detailLes arbres utiles du Gabon
Meunier, Quentin; Moumbogou, Carl; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Book published by Presses Agronomiques de Gembloux (2015)

La forêt gabonaise comprend plusieurs centaines d’espèces d’arbres. Une poignée est très connue, beaucoup le sont nettement moins, et certaines sont encore anonymes. Ce guide vous emmène à la découverte ... [more ▼]

La forêt gabonaise comprend plusieurs centaines d’espèces d’arbres. Une poignée est très connue, beaucoup le sont nettement moins, et certaines sont encore anonymes. Ce guide vous emmène à la découverte de 37 familles botaniques et de 225 espèces, dont plus de 140 sont illustrées. Il vous permet de les identifier et de mieux les connaître à l’aide de schémas simples et de près de 1 000 photographies de détails botaniques en couleur. Pour les plus expérimentés, de nouvelles données concernant l’écologie permettront de consolider leurs connaissances. L’objectif de cet ouvrage est le partage et la vulgarisation des connaissances, afin que les agents des administrations en charge des forêts, tout comme les exploitants forestiers ou encore les populations locales, puissent mieux comprendre et gérer ces essences utiles. Il pourra aussi se glisser dans la poche des randonneurs et des naturalistes, qui seront en mesure de reconnaître et de nommer plus facilement ces arbres précieux de la forêt gabonaise. [less ▲]

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See detailContributing to wood anatomical databases to improve species identification, phylogeny and functional trait research in Central Africa
Morin, Julie ULg; Fayolle, Adeline ULg; De Ridder, Maaike et al

Poster (2015, May 26)

Central African rainforests shelter a high number of woody species that are anatomically very different. Knowledge of taxon-specific wood anatomical features has proven indispensable for scientific and ... [more ▼]

Central African rainforests shelter a high number of woody species that are anatomically very different. Knowledge of taxon-specific wood anatomical features has proven indispensable for scientific and non-scientific applications. The field of wood anatomy and identification has been drastically revolutionized by the development of internationally recognized lists of precisely illustrated microscopic features (e.g. IAWA Committee 1989), together with the launch of InsideWood, an online search database using these features to narrow down identification results (e.g. Wheeler 2011). However, despite these massive efforts, the anatomy of many species or even genera remains in the dark, especially in species-rich regions. Wood anatomy has been formally described for less than 25% of the Central African woody species (Hubau et al. 2012), the focus has been mainly on timber species and variations in wood anatomical structure remain to be explored. Therefore, we are assembling a wood anatomical database of about 800 species covering the Guineo-Congolian region using material from InsideWood and the Tervuren xylarium (new descriptions). As such, we present how large anatomical databases hold interesting perspectives for (i) wood and charcoal identification, (ii) exploring the phylogenetic signal of wood anatomy, and (iii) the relationship between wood anatomical features and functional traits. [less ▲]

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