[MCN] Forest recovery difficult after selective logging

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Wed Sep 30 13:42:17 EDT 2015

Forest Ecology and Management, 1 December 2015, Pages 10-21

Selective logging: Do rates of forest turnover in 
stems, species composition and functional traits 
decrease with time since disturbance? - A 45 year 
Oyomoare L. Osazuwa-Peters et al



*Succession theory predicts changes in forest 
attributes after selective logging.
*Stems, species, and functional trait change 
should decline approaching unlogged steady state.
*Selective logging resulted in persistently 
higher turnover rates in Kibale's forest.
*Turnover rates did not decline and were also high in unlogged forests.
*Ongoing forest-wide disturbance may limit recovery from selective logging.

Abstract- (bold emphasis added)

Selective logging, the targeted harvesting of 
timber trees in a single cutting cycle, is 
globally rising in extent and intensity. 
Short-term impacts of selective logging on 
tropical forests have been widely investigated, 
but long-term effects on temporal dynamics of 
forest structure and composition are largely 
unknown. Understanding these long-term dynamics 
will help determine whether tropical forests are 
resilient to selective logging and inform choices 
between competing demands of anthropogenic use 
versus conservation of tropical forests. Forest 
dynamics can be studied within the framework of 
succession theory, which predicts that temporal 
turnover rates should decline with time since 
disturbance. Here, we investigated the temporal 
dynamics of a tropical forest in Kibale National 
Park, Uganda over 45 years following selective 
logging. We estimated turnover rates in stems, 
species composition, and functional traits (wood 
density and diameter at breast height), using 
observations from four censuses in 1989, 1999, 
2006, and 2013, of stems 10 cm diameter within 17 
unlogged and 9 logged 200 ? 10 m vegetation 
plots. We used null models to account for 
interdependencies among turnover rates in stems, 
species composition, and functional traits. We 
tested predictions that turnover rates should be 
higher and decrease with increasing time since 
the selective logging event in logged forest, but 
should be less temporally variable in unlogged 
forest. Overall, we found higher turnover rates 
in logged forest for all three attributes, but 
turnover rates did not decline through time in 
logged forest and was not less temporally 
variable in unlogged forest. These results 
indicate that successional models that assume 
recovery to pre-disturbance conditions are 
inadequate for predicting the effects of 
selective logging on the dynamics of the tropical 
forest in Kibale. Selective logging resulted in 
persistently higher turnover rates, which may 
compromise the carbon storage capacity of 
Kibale's forest. Selective logging effects may 
also interact with effects from other global 
trends, potentially causing major long-term 
shifts in the dynamics of tropical forests. 
Similar studies in tropical forests elsewhere 
will help determine the generality of these 
conclusions. Ultimately, the view that selective 
logging is a benign approach to the management of 
tropical forests should be reconsidered in the 
light of studies of the effects of this practice 
on long-term forest dynamics.

"Š the serious meaning in a concept lies in the 
difference it will make to someone if it is true."

William James (1842 -1910)
Pragmatism. Meridian Books, 1955

" Š the main dangers to the success of capitalism 
are the very people who would consider themselves 
its most ardent advocates : the bosses of 
companies, the owners of companies, and the 
politicians who tirelessly insist that they are 

"Many of the corporate scandals that America, 
especially, has endured in recent years reflect 
outright criminality. A lawful order knows what 
to do with criminals, and pro-business 
politicians are in truth militantly 
anti-capitalist if they flinch from cracking down 
on bosses' crimes."

"Š widespread and quite outrageous abuse, by 
capitalists, of capitalism Š The danger exists 
everywhere in the world, but it matters most in 
the United States."

The Economist, Special 160th Anniversary Issue, A 
Survey of Capitalism and Democracy, June 26-July 
4, 2003

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