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See detailSeed dispersal by western lowland gorillas: what about gut passage effect?
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Conference (2014, July 21)

Animal-mediated seed dispersal is an essential ecological process in the tropics. Among African primates, the critically endangered western lowland gorilla (WLG) seems to fulfill many characteristics of ... [more ▼]

Animal-mediated seed dispersal is an essential ecological process in the tropics. Among African primates, the critically endangered western lowland gorilla (WLG) seems to fulfill many characteristics of an effective seed disperser. WLG preferentially disperses species of various seed-size into open canopy habitats suitable for seedling growth. However, few studies have addressed the effects of the passage through the digestive tract on germination. Thus, the effectiveness of WLG in ecological processes governing forest dynamics and regeneration is still poorly known. Seed dispersal by WLG was studied in Central Gabon and Southeast Cameroon. Dispersed seed were identified from fresh fecal samples. Comparative germination trials based on 5 treatments (seeds from fresh fruits, seeds from fresh fruits surrounded by pulp, seeds from fresh fruits with fecal matrix, seeds from feces and seeds from feces with fecal matrix) were realized for 13 species. We recorded germination success for all species and germination delay for 6 species. Our results suggest a neutral gut passage effect for 54% and positive effect for 40% of tested species. Germination success enhancement was linked to another factor than pulp suppression. For two species, pulp suppression enhanced germination success, but not gut passage. The presence of pulp or fecal matrix surrounding the seed seemed to longer germination delay, while gut passage would not fasten germination. Globally, we conclude that WLG dispersed seeds are not damaged by gut passage. Consequently, WLG is thought to provide effective ecological services that could be essential to the maintenance and the recovery of forest ecosystems. [less ▲]

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See detailWestern lowland gorilla in a logging concession: comparison of density and nesting behavior before and after logging
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Conference (2014, May 22)

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. In Gabon, timber industry is currently the second working sector and logging concessions cover 45% of the country forest area, largely ... [more ▼]

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. In Gabon, timber industry is currently the second working sector and logging concessions cover 45% of the country forest area, largely overlapping with the range of western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla WLG). Logging may negatively impact gorilla because of an increase in hunting pressure linked to human concentration and easier access to forest. On the other hand, WLG might benefit from forest opening and the associated growth in Terrestrial Herbaceous Vegetation, following timber felling and roads/trails implementation. In the present study, gorilla density and nesting behavior were studied in a 617,000-ha logging concession located in Central Gabon. A Standing Crop Nest Count census was realized 25 years after the first timber harvesting cycle, consisting in the assessment of the potentiality of logged forest to hold viable WLG populations. A second census was undertaken four to six months after the second logging wave. Comparing nesting behavior and estimated gorilla density between the two census allows to highlight the short-term effects of logging on gorilla populations. A relatively high WLG density was observed during the first census (2.1 weaned gorillas/km²). This figure dropped down to 1.0 weaned gorillas/km² after the second felling cycle. Both density values fall within the range of documented WLG densities documented at other sites. Gorillas consistently nested preferentially in open terra firme forest and built the majority of their nests using herbs of the Marantaceae and Zingiberaceae families. Both these observations underline the importance of Terrestrial Herbaceous Vegetation for nesting. The results of this study suggest that timber exploitation and WLG conservation are not mutually exclusive. The initial high density might traduce an effective anti-poaching strategy for now. The decline in gorilla density observed directly in the second census is probably linked with the avoidance of the disturbance of logging operations. Monitoring the evolution of WLG density would be important in order to control if the figure will rise over time to reach its initial value, but also to assess if a positive effect of Terrestrial Herbaceous Vegetation growth will be observed. [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 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 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 detailWestern lowland gorilla populations and logging concessions: is the coexistence possible?
Haurez, Barbara ULg; Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Doucet, Jean-Louis ULg

Conference (2013, April)

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. Around 26 % of the moist forests are devoted to logging activities. Logging concessions largely overlap with the range of western ... [more ▼]

Timber exploitation is rapidly expanding throughout the Congo Basin. Around 26 % of the moist forests are devoted to logging activities. Logging concessions largely overlap with the range of western lowland gorilla (WLG) considered as critically endangered by IUCN. However, this species could play an essential role in maintaining vegetal diversity notably through seed dispersal services. Particularly some tree species harvested for their timber may be dispersed by WLG. In this communication interactions between WLG and a timber exploitation are studied in Central Gabon. WLG density is estimated in an Annual Allowable Cut (AAC), and nesting behavior is described. Seeds dispersed by WLG are identified through fecal analysis and germination trials are conducted to assess seed viability after gut passage. Four treatments are realized for the most abundant species: passed seeds, passed seeds in fecal matrix, seeds surrounded by fresh pulp and seeds extracted from fresh fruits. A relatively high WLG density is observed in the AAC (2.0 weaned gorillas/km²). WLG nest preferentially in open terra firme forest and frequently use old logging road covered with herbaceous vegetation for nesting and feeding. They avoid nesting in closed terra firme forest. Seed dispersal and impacts of the passage in gorilla’s gut on seed germination are currently described. Germination success after gut passage depends on the seed species and varies from 0.0 to 100% in the course of monitoring time. The first results of this study suggest that timber exploitation and WLG conservation are not mutually exclusive. WLG are important agents of forest regeneration by dispersing seeds in logged areas. Nest sites in logging gaps could be particularly favorable for seedlings development. This consideration must encourage forest managers to strengthen WLG-conservative practices in their concessions. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Enhancement of Secondary Succession by Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in a Moist Tropical Forest of Southeast Cameroon
Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Haurez, Barbara ULg; Tagg, Nikki et al

in Folia Primatologica : International Journal of Primatology = Internationale Zeitschrift für Primatologie = Journal international de Primatologie (2013), 84

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See detailRole of the western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in seed dispersal in tropical forests and implications of its decline
Petre, Charles-Albert ULg; Tagg, Nikki; Haurez, Barbara ULg et al

in Biotechnologie, Agronomie, Société et Environnement = Biotechnology, Agronomy, Society and Environment [=BASE] (2013), 17(3), 517-526

Detailed reference viewed: 58 (9 ULg)