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Long-term logging study demonstrates impacts on chimpanzees and gorillas (Republic of Congo)

Multi-year study highlights impacts before, during and after selective logging on great ape populations

Date:
November 27, 2017
Source:
Lincoln Park Zoo
Summary:
Research has shown human disturbance can have detrimental effects on great ape populations but now there is new evidence showing how selective logging impacts chimpanzees and gorilla populations differently.
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Research has shown human disturbance can have detrimental effects on great ape populations but now, due to a study published in Biological Conservation on Nov. 27 by Lincoln Park Zoo, there is evidence showing how selective logging impacts chimpanzees and gorilla populations differently by utilizing data collected before, during and after timber extraction.

David Morgan, Ph.D., of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes, is used to uncharted territory, spending most of his days in a remote region of the Republic of Congo, a one-of-a-kind ecosystem called Goualougo Triangle that chimpanzees and western lowland gorillas call home. Morgan has developed crucial relationships with community and conservation partners, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, but ventured into a new type of uncharted territory by creating an open dialogue and data-sharing relationship with the local timber company. The Forest Stewardship Council (FCS)-certified company offered to provide its timber inventory, and in turn, zoo researchers were able to provide information on ape nesting, feeding ecology and range to help minimize the displacement of these endangered primates.

While the Goualougo Triangle is a protected area, the site for selective logging -- 1 to 3 trees per hectare (equivalent to the size of two football fields) -- is also inhabited by chimpanzees and gorillas as it borders the Nouabale-Ndoki National Forest.

Culminating these data provided statistically significant results. Western lowland gorillas avoided areas during timber extraction but returned after logging had passed through the area, in order to feed on the lush herbaceous ground vegetation. On the other hand, chimpanzees who thrive high in the tree's canopy were less likely or slower to return to their native habitat. Crucial to the protection of the returning ape troops are ecoguards who protect the newly-accessible forest due to the human disturbance.

This unprecedented study was only possible due to the long-term dedication of Goualougo Triangle Ape Project staff and cooperation with the local timber company. Researchers remain in the field year-round studying these complex creatures to continue to find the best ways to preserve their populations.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Lincoln Park Zoo. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Morgan, Roger Mundry, Crickette Sanz, Crepin Eyana Ayina, Samantha Strindberg, Eric Lonsdorf, Hjalmar S. Kühl. African apes coexisting with logging: Comparing chimpanzee ( Pan troglodytes troglodytes ) and gorilla ( Gorilla gorilla gorilla ) resource needs and responses to forestry activities. Biological Conservation, 2017; DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2017.10.026

Cite This Page:

Lincoln Park Zoo. "Long-term logging study demonstrates impacts on chimpanzees and gorillas (Republic of Congo)." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171127105957.htm>.
Lincoln Park Zoo. (2017, November 27). Long-term logging study demonstrates impacts on chimpanzees and gorillas (Republic of Congo). ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 21, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171127105957.htm
Lincoln Park Zoo. "Long-term logging study demonstrates impacts on chimpanzees and gorillas (Republic of Congo)." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171127105957.htm (accessed June 21, 2024).

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