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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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