[en] Tropical rain forests ; wood ; Pericopsis ; forest management ; genetics ; geographical distribution ; Africa ; logging ; endangered species
[fr] Afrique ; Forêts tropicales humides ; bois ; aménagement forestier ; génétique ; distribution géographique ; arbres ; espèce en danger
[en] Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) is a valuable timber species occurring in moist semi-deciduous African forests. While it is at present substantially reduced, the tree’s natural distribution previously covered several distinct areas from Côte d’Ivoire to the Democratic Republic of Congo. This species has been logged since the second half of the 20th century. Because it suffers from a lack of regeneration, P. elata is now included in CITES Appendix II and is recorded as “Endangered A1cd” on the IUCN Red List. As with other long-lived light-demanding species, the survival of P. elata may have been favored by important disturbances that occurred in the Congo Basin during the last millennia. While both international trade and industrial uses of the wood of P. elata are well documented, information about its ecology are very sparse or contradictory, and even absent in some cases (e.g., regarding its effective flowering diameter). Furthermore, data describing the management of P. elata are scarce, including potential solutions to compensate for the deficit of natural regeneration. Along the same lines, genetic studies still remain at an early stage and only vague hypotheses have been offered to explain the origins of the tree’s populations. We emphasize the need for new research on those topics. Further studies would be useful in deciding whether P. elata populations can continue to be logged without the species being threatened with extinction. Finally, such research needs to target effective and inexpensive management procedures that could secure the future of the species in a logging context.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech (TROPDIV-PPR10,000)
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