References of "Doucet, Jean-Louis"
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See detailRelation entre anatomie du bois et traits fonctionnels chez 584 espèces d'Afrique tropicale
Morin-Rivat, Julie ULg; Fayolle, Adeline ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg et al

Poster (2013, November 19)

Les différences anatomiques observées dans le bois ont souvent été mises en relation avec des adaptations évolutives et environnementales. Toutefois, les liens entre structure du bois et contraintes ... [more ▼]

Les différences anatomiques observées dans le bois ont souvent été mises en relation avec des adaptations évolutives et environnementales. Toutefois, les liens entre structure du bois et contraintes écologiques restent peu connus. En effet, peu d’études ont combiné les approches anatomique et fonctionnelle. De plus, nos connaissances sont très limitées pour les biomes à grande diversité spécifique, en particulier l’Afrique tropicale. Les récents développements relatifs aux traits fonctionnels des espèces du Bassin du Congo poussent à tester de nouvelles hypothèses sur ces essences. Objectifs : Montrer dans quelle mesure les caractères anatomiques d’espèces de la zone guinéo-congolaise sont associés à plusieurs traits fonctionnels majeurs. Nous avons croisé plusieurs bases de données : 1) InsideWood : anatomie du bois, codage binaire (1/0) des descriptions : présence/absence des 163 caractères de la liste IAWA et 2) CoForTraits : traits fonctionnels de 1236 espèces, utilisation de 5 groupes de traits impliqués dans la croissance, la survie et la reproduction des plantes : a) la phénologie foliaire, b) le tempérament, c) la dispersion des graines, d) la forme de vie et e) la densité du bois. Analyse des pourcentages d’occurrence des caractères anatomiques pour les 584 espèces communes aux deux bases. Analyse factorielle des correspondances (AFC) entre les caractères anatomiques et les espèces. Analyse taxonomique enracinée pour évaluer les relations entre les caractères anatomiques et les traits fonctionnels. Tests de la variance. Résultats : 131 caractères anatomiques présents et 13 absents. Les caractères absents ou rares représentent soit des variables quantitatives soit des caractères typiques des régions tempérées. Les caractères très fréquents sont tropicaux et/ou africains. Plusieurs caractères sont très variables (ex. les cernes de croissance). Les 4 premiers axes de l’AFC représentent 15,23% de la variation anatomique. Parmi les caractères fréquents (ex. ponctuations ornées) et peu fréquents (ex. perforations scalariformes, cellules en tuile), plusieurs représentent un signal taxonomique soit au niveau de la famille (ex. Malvaceae, Fabaceae), soit au niveau du genre (ex. Strombosia spp.) Certains caractères proviennent d’un héritage écologique. Il existe en effet une divergence fonctionnelle et anatomique entre a) les grands arbres émergents et les arbustes de sous-bois. Ces éléments peuvent être mis en relation avec les stratégies de croissance en hauteur, de compétition pour accéder à la lumière, de durée de vie, d’efficacité vs de sécurité de la conduction hydrique, de résistance à la sécheresse et de colonisation de l’espace. Notre étude montre que les caractères anatomiques du bois sont dans une certaine mesure liés aux traits fonctionnels impliqués dans la croissance, la survie et la reproduction des plantes. Notre approche peut être utilisée pour évaluer les stratégies des plantes dans des milieux tropicaux à forte diversité spécifique. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of past Human disturbances on present-day tree species assembly in a tropical forest of South-East Cameroon
Vleminckx, Jason; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Poster (2013, November 06)

Many evidence have been found for intensive past Human presence in the forests of Central Africa, notably widespread charcoal occurrence in the soil. Forest clearing for slash-and-burn agriculture may ... [more ▼]

Many evidence have been found for intensive past Human presence in the forests of Central Africa, notably widespread charcoal occurrence in the soil. Forest clearing for slash-and-burn agriculture may have favored the competitiveness of light-demanding species (LD) to the detriment of shade-bearer species (SB). Hypothesis: Positive correlation between abundance of charcoal in the soil (proxy for past Human clearing) and abundance of LD.Mostly “young” charcoals were thought to reflect past Human disturbances that would have shaped present-day species assembly. However, CAI 0-20cm and CAI 20-100cm were highly correlated with each other (r-Pearson = 0.55; P<0.001) and both displayed positive correlations with Non-Pioneer LD abundance (significant with a classic test) and negative correlations with SB abundance. Although this observation is coherent with our hypothesis, significance disappeared when correcting for spatial autocorrelation [4], even after removing small-diameter trees potentially too young to be linked with last Human disturbances (not shown). Correlation of CAI between the two soil layers => Humans found appropriate conditions for settlement in the same area at different periods? Absence of significant correlation in ❸ (i) Last Human disturbances are too old to detect any signal on present-day tree species assembly. (ii) Human impact is weak compared to other factors (soil properties, dispersal limitation,…) (iii) Local scale heterogeneity of LD abundance is weak compared to landscape scale. Parallel large scale gradients in the abundance of Non-Pioneer LD and charcoal abundance (proxy for past slash-and-burn activities) were observed, but a causal link cannot be established so far. [less ▲]

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See detailDe la paléoécologie à l'écologie actuelle : 2000 ans d'interaction homme-milieu dans le nord du Bassin du Congo
Morin-Rivat, Julie ULg; Bentaleb, Ilham; Biwole, Achille ULg et al

Poster (2013, November 06)

La forêt tropicale africaine a longtemps été considérée comme vierge du passage de l’homme. Cependant, plusieurs études récentes en paléoécologie et archéologie ont démontré la présence d’activités ... [more ▼]

La forêt tropicale africaine a longtemps été considérée comme vierge du passage de l’homme. Cependant, plusieurs études récentes en paléoécologie et archéologie ont démontré la présence d’activités humaines anciennes à partir d’indices paléoenvironnementaux (i.e. pollens de plantes anthropophiles) et d’artefacts (i.e. tessons de céramique). Ces études sont toutefois trop rares en raison de difficultés de terrain pour repérer et accéder aux sites archéologiques (couvert végétale dense, absence de pistes). De grandes zones à l’intérieur des terres demeurent donc inexplorées. Par ailleurs, peu d’études se sont penchées sur la question de l’impact de ces activités anthropiques passées sur la structure et la composition de la végétation actuelle. Grâce à une approche multidisciplinaire à la frontière entre sciences humaines et sciences de l’environnement (archéologie, pédoanthracologie : charbons de bois des sols, écologie forestière), notre objectif est d’identifier des indices d’activités humaines anciennes, lesquels sont été mis en relation avec les patrons actuels de végétation. Nos trois zones d’étude sont localisées en forêt tropicale humide de type guinéo-congolais et sont réparties dans le sud-ouest et sud-est du Cameroun et le nord de la République du Congo. Le long d’une vingtaine de transects de plusieurs kilomètres, nous avons appliqué un protocole systématique de récolte de matériel archéologique et archéobotanique dans des fosses situées sur des parcelles d’inventaire botanique. Ceci nous a permis de récolter plus d’un millier d’échantillons contenant des macrorestes végétaux carbonisés ainsi que des artefacts inédits pour la région (pierre taillée et polie, tessons de céramique, scories de métallurgie) et d’inventorier la végétation dans l’environnement immédiat des découvertes. L’analyse spatiale et temporelle (chronologie relative et par datation radiocarbone) des macrorestes a permis d’identifier des villages entourés de probables champs agricoles (agriculture itinérante sur brûlis). Les 68 datations radiocarbones et les types céramiques obtenus suivent une chronologie archéologique en deux phases : un âge du Fer ancien entre 2300 et 1300 BP et un âge du Fer récent se poursuivant jusqu’à la période subactuelle, entre 670 et 20 BP. Entre ces deux phases d’occupation, les traces d’activités anthropiques sont rares. La première phase d’activités serait à mettre en relation avec une fragmentation de la forêt dense à la suite d’un épisode climatique aride autour de 2500 BP, permettant ainsi aux populations de pénétrer la forêt. Un épisode plus humide à partir de 800 BP, avec un retour d’un couvert plus dense, aurait fait reculer les populations humaines. Leur rétablissement dans les forêts se serait produit conjointement à des conditions plus sèches. Ces trois phases rejoignent la chronologie générale établie à l’échelle de l’Afrique centrale. Les premiers taxons identifiés parmi les macrorestes végétaux carbonisés, graines et charbons de bois, démontrent l’utilisation ancienne du palmier à huile et d’arbres fruitiers sauvages. Les espèces ligneuses identifiées sont présentes dans le cortège floristique actuel. L’identification taxonomique des charbons de bois devrait nous permettre de reconstituer l’environnement végétal au cours des deux derniers millénaires. Les différences observées dans les couverts forestiers passé et actuel en termes de composition floristique ainsi que la structure des peuplements actuels sont de bons indicateurs d’impacts récents de l’homme sur son milieu. [less ▲]

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See detailLe genre Guibourtia Benn: un modèle biologique idéal pour comprendre les mécanismes de spéciation
Tosso, Dji-ndé Félicien ULg; Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Hardy, Olivier et al

Poster (2013, November 06)

Les forêts denses tropicales humides se distinguent par leur grande diversité biologique qui leur confère un caractère complexe. Dans un tel contexte, comprendre le passé et l'histoire évolutive de la ... [more ▼]

Les forêts denses tropicales humides se distinguent par leur grande diversité biologique qui leur confère un caractère complexe. Dans un tel contexte, comprendre le passé et l'histoire évolutive de la dynamique de ces forêts, constitue un moyen efficace pour prédire leur dynamique future. De telles études qui traitent de la biologie évolutive (phylogénie et phylogéographie) sont rares en Afrique comparativement aux autres continents. Le présent travail ambitionne de contribuer, sur base d’un modèle biologique comportant plusieurs espèces sœurs, à la compréhension des mécanismes à l'origine de la diversité des écosystèmes forestiers tropicaux. Le modèle biologique choisi est le genre Guibourtia Benn daté de moins de 20.000 ans qui regroupe 13 espèces ligneuses africaines de grande importance socio-culturelle et économique. Ce modèle rassemble non seulement des espèces de formations végétales différentes (forêt et savane) mais aussi des espèces inféodées aux régions établies sur des sols variés (sableux, argilo-limoneux, calcaire, hydromorphe etc.). Spécifiquement, l’étude vise à (i) démêler les relations phylogénétiques au sein du genre Guibourtia sur la base de caractérisations physiologique et morphogénétique; (ii) inférer l'histoire évolutive au sein du genre Guibourtia grâce aux récents outils d'analyse phylogéographique et de datation moléculaire ; et (iii) examiner les possibilités de flux de gènes entre deux espèces morphologiquement semblables à savoir G. tessmannii (Harms) J. Léonard et G. pellegriniana J. Léonard à l’échelle du Gabon. Ce travail se distingue par son originalité du fait qu’il développe une approche qui combine la physiologie et la génétique. Les résultats contribueront à modéliser la distribution des différentes unités évolutives du genre Guibourtia avec un modèle dynamique de végétation (CARAIB) afin de conclure sur leur statut de conservation et déduire les stratégies de gestion durable appropriées. [less ▲]

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See detailLes concessions forestières peuvent-elles contribuer à la conservation du gorille des plaines de l'Ouest? Exemple d'une concession au Sud-Est du Gabon
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Poster (2013, November)

Vingt pourcents des forêts du Bassin du Congo sont actuellement principalement affectées à la production de produits ligneux et non-ligneux [FAO-OIBT, 2011]. L'exploitation est un agent de perturbation de ... [more ▼]

Vingt pourcents des forêts du Bassin du Congo sont actuellement principalement affectées à la production de produits ligneux et non-ligneux [FAO-OIBT, 2011]. L'exploitation est un agent de perturbation de ces forêts [WILKIE ET AL., 2000]. Au vu de l’importance économique des industries d’extraction pour les pays de cette région, l’étendue des forêts exploitées pour leur bois ne devrait pas diminuer dans les années à venir, au contraire. La survie de nombreuses espèces animales de forêt dense humide dépend donc de leur capacité à survivre en milieu exploité [JOHNS, 1985]. A ce jour, les concessions forestières jouent potentiellement un rôle crucial pour la protection des différentes espèces de grands singes. En effet, plus de 50% de l'aire de distribution des grands singes d’Afrique de l'Ouest est localisée dans les concessions forestières [MORGAN & SANZ, 2007]. Or, la faune sauvage joue un rôle essentiel pour la durabilité de l'exploitation forestière car elle assure la dissémination des graines [WRIGHT, 2003], dont celles des espèces commerciales. En particulier, le gorille des plaines de l'Ouest (Gorilla gorilla gorilla Savage & Wyman, 1847), espèce en danger critique d'extinction (IUCN), semble jouer un rôle fondamental dans la dispersion des diaspores des espèces ligneuses [ROGERS ET AL., 1998 ; VOYSEY ET AL., 1999]. Cette étude vise à déterminer les interactions entre les gorilles des plaines de l'Ouest et l'exploitation forestière, afin d'évaluer dans quelle mesure ces deux acteurs peuvent être bénéfiques l'un envers l'autre. Plus particulièrement, la densité en gorilles a été estimée dans une zone exploitée 25 ans plus tôt. Le comportement nidificateur des gorilles dans cette zone a été décrit. D'autre part, le rôle potentiel joué par les gorilles dans la dynamique de régénération des forêts exploitées est abordé au travers de l'étude de la dispersion des graines (identification des graines dispersées, contrôle du pouvoir germinatif et détermination de l'impact du passage dans le tractus digestif sur la germination). La densité en gorilles observée au sein du site d'étude est relativement élevée (1,5 gorille/km²). Les gorilles établissent leurs sites de nidification préférentiellement au sein de forêts de terre ferme à canopée ouverte. Ils utilisent fréquemment les anciennes routes d'exploitation, densément couverte de végétation herbacée, pour l'alimentation et la nidification. Au bout de 10 mois de suivi, 45 espèces végétales ont été identifiées comme étant dispersées par les gorilles. Le potentiel germinatif a été évalué pour 36 taxons. Les taux de germination observés dépendent de l'espèce considérée, et varient de 0 à 100%. L'impact du tractus digestif sur la germination a actuellement été testé pour deux espèces, Santiria trimera (Burseraceae) et Chrysophyllum lacourtianum (Sapotaceae). Pour ces deux espèces, les graines passées dans le tractus digestif des gorilles présentent des taux de germination significativement plus élevé que les graines extraites de fruits frais (entourées de pulpe ou non). Les résultats préliminaires de cette étude suggèrent que les forêts exploitées peuvent supporter des densités en gorilles comparables à celles des aires protégées. En outre, via son rôle en tant que disperseur, le gorille pourrait avoir un rôle crucial dans la régénération des forêts post-exploitation. L'exploitation forestière et la conservation des gorilles des plaines de l'Ouest paraissent donc compatibles. [less ▲]

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See detailLarge-scale pattern of genetic differentiation within African rainforest trees: insights on the roles of ecological gradients and past climate changes on the evolution of Erythrophleum spp (Fabaceae)
Duminil, Jérôme; Brown, Richard P.; Ewédjè, Eben-Ezer BK. et al

in BMC Evolutionary Biology (2013), 13

Background: The evolutionary events that have shaped biodiversity patterns in the African rainforests are still poorly documented. Past forest fragmentation and ecological gradients have been advocated as ... [more ▼]

Background: The evolutionary events that have shaped biodiversity patterns in the African rainforests are still poorly documented. Past forest fragmentation and ecological gradients have been advocated as important drivers of genetic differentiation but their respective roles remain unclear. Using nuclear microsatellites (nSSRs) and chloroplast non-coding sequences (pDNA), we characterised the spatial genetic structure of Erythrophleum (Fabaceae) forest trees in West and Central Africa (Guinea Region, GR). This widespread genus displays a wide ecological amplitude and taxonomists recognize two forest tree species, E. ivorense and E. suaveolens, which are difficult to distinguish in the field and often confused. Results: Bayesian-clustering applied on nSSRs of a blind sample of 648 specimens identified three major gene pools showing no or very limited introgression. They present parapatric distributions correlated to rainfall gradients and forest types. One gene pool is restricted to coastal evergreen forests and corresponds to E. ivorense; a second one is found in gallery forests from the dry forest zone of West Africa and North-West Cameroon and corresponds to West-African E. suaveolens; the third gene pool occurs in semi-evergreen forests and corresponds to Central African E. suaveolens. These gene pools have mostly unique pDNA haplotypes but they do not form reciprocally monophyletic clades. Nevertheless, pDNA molecular dating indicates that the divergence between E. ivorense and Central African E. suaveolens predates the Pleistocene. Further Bayesian-clustering applied within each major gene pool identified diffuse genetic discontinuities (minor gene pools displaying substantial introgression) at a latitude between 0 and 2°N in Central Africa for both species, and at a longitude between 5° and 8°E for E. ivorense. Moreover, we detected evidence of past population declines which are consistent with historical habitat fragmentation induced by Pleistocene climate changes. Conclusions: Overall, deep genetic differentiation (major gene pools) follows ecological gradients that may be at the origin of speciation, while diffuse differentiation (minor gene pools) are tentatively interpreted as the signature of past forest fragmentation induced by past climate changes. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of WLG on the regeneration of logged forests: preliminary insights in a Gabonese logging concession
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

in Folia Primatologica : International Journal of Primatology = Internationale Zeitschrift für Primatologie = Journal international de Primatologie (2013, September), 84(3-5), 284-285

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See detailAbove-ground biomass and structure of 260 african tropical forests
Lewis, Simon L.; Sonké, Bonaventure; Sunderland, Terry et al

in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (2013), 368

We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stemdensity and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries ... [more ▼]

We report above-ground biomass (AGB), basal area, stemdensity and wood mass density estimates from 260 sample plots (mean size: 1.2 ha) in intact closed-canopy tropical forests across 12 African countries. Mean AGB is 395.7 Mg dry mass ha21 (95% CI: 14.3), substantially higher than Amazonian values, with the Congo Basin and contiguous forest region attaining AGB values (429 Mg ha21) similar to those of Bornean forests, and significantly greater than East or West African forests. AGB therefore appears generally higher in palaeo- comparedwithneotropical forests.However, mean stem density is low(426+11 stems ha21 greater than or equal to 100 mm diameter) compared with both Amazonian and Bornean forests (cf. approx. 600) and is the signature structural feature of African tropical forests. While spatial autocorrelation complicates analyses, AGB shows a positive relationship with rainfall in the driest nine months of the year, and an opposite association with the wettest three months of the year; a negative relationship with temperature; positive relationship with clay-rich soils; and negative relationshipswith C :Nratio (suggesting a positive soil phosphorus–AGB relationship), and soil fertility computed as the sum of base cations. The results indicate that AGB is mediated by both climate and soils, and suggest that the AGB of African closed-canopy tropical forests may be particularly sensitive to future precipitation and temperature changes. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalyzing soil charcoals to assess the naturalness of tropical forest
Morin-Rivat, Julie ULg; Gorel, Anaïs-Pasiphaé; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Conference (2013, June 26)

For conservation biology and sustainable management, the natural character of tropical forest is a crucial issue. Its assessment is usually based on ecological proxies such as forest composition and ... [more ▼]

For conservation biology and sustainable management, the natural character of tropical forest is a crucial issue. Its assessment is usually based on ecological proxies such as forest composition and structure. However the estimation made on this basis only considers short term processes at a local scale. In contrast the long term processes are appraised by palaeoecological proxies (such as pollen) at a regional scale. So as to assess the degree of naturalness of tropical ecosystems in a conservation perspective it is important to combine a long temporal scale as well as a fine resolution spatial scale. Such approaches using palaeoecological proxies have been recently tested in temperate Europe but little in tropical ecosystems. Nonetheless the long term preservation of the palaeoecological material and its broad presence in the environment are necessary conditions to fulfill. In this perspective soil charcoal appears to meet these requirements. In this paper we aimed at assessing the naturalness of tropical forest using soil charcoal from southeastern Cameroon. Fieldwork involving as well archaeology as botany was undertaken at 53 sites. We quantified charcoal in soil samples by layers of 10 cm taken from pits located in the center of plots of botanical inventory. Spatial projections were performed using statistics together with multivariate analyses. Radiocarbon dating allowed interpreting the temporal framework. Results showed the ubiquitous presence of charcoal at each site. Main charcoal peaks were interpreted as fields (slash-and-burn agriculture) in the vicinity of ancient villages. These practices shaped the forest over time which cannot be considered as natural anymore. This underlines the potential input of the use of palaeoecological material in conservation biology and sustainable management issues. Charcoal fragments are under taxonomical identification and may provide new insights on the long term history of forest composition. [less ▲]

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See detailHow closely are Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) patches linked to past human disturbances in South-Eastern Cameroon
Bourland, Nils ULg; Cerisier, François; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Conference (2013, June 26)

Studies conducted in the Congo Basin forests concluded that soil parameters and large disturbances induced by human activities since 3000–2000 BP could be the main driver for the persistence of long lived ... [more ▼]

Studies conducted in the Congo Basin forests concluded that soil parameters and large disturbances induced by human activities since 3000–2000 BP could be the main driver for the persistence of long lived light-demanding tall tree species. Today most of the timber species belong to this group, among them Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae). Like many other light-demanding trees, this species suffers from important regeneration problems. While the conditions for its establishment must have been met in the past, they obviously have become unfavourable. Because of ongoing logging activities and a natural decline of its populations, this species is recorded in both the IUCN Red List and the CITES Appendix II listings. Our goal was to investigate the roles of both pedological and anthropogenic factors in the persistence of forest patches characterized by this clustered species. Soil surveys, botanical inventories and anthracological excavations were conducted in three different forest sites located in south-eastern Cameroon. P. elata patches (3.3-14.7 ha) were studied and compared to their close surroundings. No statistical differences were observed between the results of botanical inventories conducted inside and outside the patches (Morisita-Horn indices from 0.69-0.77). Soils only differed in Fe content, but otherwise no significant differences could be observed. Charcoal is widespread and abundant in study sites, mostly inside the patches. Charcoal radiocarbon dating (2,150-195 BP) was consistent with decoration techniques of archaeological materials that we discovered. The average age of P. elata individuals coincides with fire events that occurred in a region where fires rarely occur naturally. We present evidence of past anthropogenic disturbances (human settlement, slash-and-burn cultivation) in the Congolese mixed moist semi-evergreen forest in south-eastern Cameroon. We discuss the potential influence of our findings on the management of light-demanding tall trees populations in a context of logging activities. [less ▲]

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See detailAfzelia populations, a poorly known species complex of timber trees from African tropical forests
Donkpegan, Segbedji ULg; Hardy, Olivier; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Scientific conference (2013, June 26)

The fate of African tropical forests is a major concern for conservation, while their biodiversity is still poorly known. The purpose of this poster is to provide an update of knowledge of the genus ... [more ▼]

The fate of African tropical forests is a major concern for conservation, while their biodiversity is still poorly known. The purpose of this poster is to provide an update of knowledge of the genus Afzelia, a complex of sister tree species exploited for their wood in central Africa. The distribution of Afzelia in Africa suggests various adaptations to ecological factors. In fact, most of Afzelia species occur in parapatry and are so similar that they are often not distinguished by logging companies and forests managers. We show that the genus remains understudied in Africa although some of its species are considered as endangered or vulnerable. Therefore, a revision of its taxonomy along with thorough investigations of ecological and genetic aspects of Afzelia populations, using molecular markers currently in development (nSSR, cpDNA and nDNA), should be relevant and of great interest for conservation and sustainable management purposes. We will describe the different and complementary morpho-genetic approaches that will be used to investigate the biogeographical history of Afzeliapopulation in concert with species boundary questions. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of past Human disturbances on present day tree species assembly in the tropical forests of South-East Cameroon
Vleminckx, Jason; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg; Daïnou, Kasso ULg et al

Poster (2013, June 25)

Non-random spatial distribution of trees is the result of both neutral and deterministic factors. Neutral models suggest that species within a community are equally competitive, with spatial structures ... [more ▼]

Non-random spatial distribution of trees is the result of both neutral and deterministic factors. Neutral models suggest that species within a community are equally competitive, with spatial structures mainly due to dispersal limitation. Deterministic (or non-neutral) models consider species assemblages as the result of what we name “induced spatial dependence”, where forcing (explanatory) variables shape diversity organization. However, deterministic models have often included habitat variables only, without considering human disturbance which we know enhances the competitive advantage of heliophytic (light-demanding) species and therefore the floristic composition of phytocenoses. Based on charcoal abundance in the soil (used as an indicator of anthropogenic perturbation), species abundance, and environmental data from a forest of south-east Cameroon, we applied modern variation partitioning methods to assess the relative impact of human disturbance on floristic patterns, controlling for purely spatial and habitat effects. Significant signals of human influence have been found so far, and a new collection of data should establish with a better precision the importance of the anthropogenic impact on tree species assemblages. [less ▲]

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See detailLife history traits related to hydraulic functioning in 211 African tropical woody species
Morin-Rivat, Julie ULg; Fayolle, Adeline ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg et al

Poster (2013, June 06)

In the context of global change understanding the interactions between plant ecology and plant physiology remains a crucial issue. In this study we aimed at analyzing the vascular characteristics involved ... [more ▼]

In the context of global change understanding the interactions between plant ecology and plant physiology remains a crucial issue. In this study we aimed at analyzing the vascular characteristics involved in the ecological traits of woody species from the northern Congo Basin. We crosschecked three databases: the botanical inventories (857 spp.) and the database of life history traits (464 spp.) produced during the CoForChange project, and the anatomical database Inside Wood (761 spp. and genera for tropical Africa). A total of 211 shared species was obtained. We performed correspondence analyses between the tangential diameter of the vessel lumina (40-43), the number of vessels per mm² (46-50) and five life history traits: leaf phenology, light requirement, seed dispersal, tree size and wood density. Species were distributed along a gradient from species with numerous small vessels to species with few large vessels. This distribution was correlated to a gradient in leaf phenology and light requirement: from evergreen shade-tolerant species to deciduous non-pioneer and pioneer light-demanding species. Dispersal followed this distribution in a lesser extent: from zoochoria to autochoria via anemochoria. Finally, a gradient in size was observed, from small shrubs to tall trees, as well as a gradient in wood density, from dense to light woods. We conclude that the ecological traits of the African tropical woody species are closely related to their hydraulic functioning. The strategies adopted by plants regarding light and water availability can thus be deduced from their vascular characteristics. On this basis we anticipate that climate change will foster light-demanding tree species as better competitors than shade-tolerant species, especially as drought stress is concerned. Further research is needed to increase the input of wood anatomy in explaining the life history traits in African tropical species. [less ▲]

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See detailImpacts of logging and hunting on western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) populations and consequences for forest regeneration. A review
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2013), 17(2), 364-372

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. Forest areas assigned to timber harvesting have sharply expanded over the decades and logging concessions now largely overlap with the ... [more ▼]

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. Forest areas assigned to timber harvesting have sharply expanded over the decades and logging concessions now largely overlap with the range of western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla Savage & Wyman, 1847). However this species, which is considered as critically endangered by IUCN, could play an essential role in maintaining the structure and composition of tropical rainforest notably through seed dispersal services. This is likely due to its frugivorous diet, high stomach capacity and ability to swallow seeds of variable sizes. Moreover gorillas have a long gut retention time of ingested food, travel long daily distances and deposit most ingested seeds in suitable habitats for plant development (such as logging gaps). Consequently, the preservation of the role of gorilla in forest regeneration is essential in the context of logged forest ecosystems. Timber harvesting has two major opposing impacts on gorilla populations: on the one hand, gorillas benefit from growth of herbaceous vegetation (e.g. Marantaceae and Zingiberaceae) following forest canopy opening, as such herbs provide both staple food and nest-building materials; on the other hand, gorilla populations suffer with the rise in hunting associated with logging activity, especially with road network installation. Considering the potential negative knock-on effects of logging concessions on the ecological function of western lowland gorilla, the implementation of timber harvesting methods that preserve gorilla populations is a considerable challenge for forest sustainability, as well as for gorilla’s conservation. [less ▲]

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See detailSpecies delimitation and diversification in the widespread tree genus Milicia (Moraceae)
Daïnou, Kasso ULg; Mahy, Grégory ULg; Duminil, Jérôme et al

Conference (2013, June)

The long generation time and large effective size of widespread forest tree species can result in slow evolutionary rate and incomplete lineage sorting, complicating species delimitation. We addressed ... [more ▼]

The long generation time and large effective size of widespread forest tree species can result in slow evolutionary rate and incomplete lineage sorting, complicating species delimitation. We addressed this issue with the African timber tree genus Milicia that comprises two morphologically similar and often confounded species: M. excelsa, widespread from West to East Africa, and M. regia, endemic to West Africa. We combined information from nuclear microsatellites (nSSRs), nuclear and plastid DNA sequences, and morphological systematics to identify significant evolutionary units and infer their evolutionary and biogeographical history. We detected five geographically coherent genetic clusters using nSSRs and three levels of genetic differentiation. First, one West African cluster matched perfectly with the morphospecies M. regia, which formed a monophyletic clade at both DNA sequences. Second, a West African M. excelsa cluster formed a monophyletic group at plastid DNA and was more related to M. regia than to Central African M. excelsa, but shared many haplotypes with the latter at nuclear DNA. Third, three Central African clusters appeared little differentiated and shared most of their haplotypes. Although gene tree paraphyly could suggest a single species in Milicia following the Phylogenetic Species Concept, the existence of mutual haplotypic exclusivity and non-admixed genetic clusters in the contact area of the two taxa indicate strong reproductive isolation, and thus, two species following the Biological Species Concept. Molecular dating of the first divergence events showed that speciation in Milicia is ancient (Tertiary), indicating that long-living tree taxa exhibiting genetic speciation may remain similar morphologically. [less ▲]

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