Contrasting taxonomic and functional responses of a tropical tree community to selective logging

Authors

  • Christopher Baraloto,

    Corresponding author
    1. INRA, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
    2. Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA
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  • Bruno Hérault,

    1. Université des Antilles et de la Guyane, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
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  • C. E. Timothy Paine,

    1. AgroParisTech, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
    2. Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland
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  • Hélène Massot,

    1. INRA, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
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  • Lilian Blanc,

    1. CIRAD, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana and CIRAD-ES, Research Unit ‘Biens et Services des Ecosystémes Forestiers tropicaux’, Embrapa Amazonia Oriental, Caixa Postal, 48, Belem, Para - CEP 66095-100, Brasil
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  • Damien Bonal,

    1. INRA, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana
    2. INRA, UMR ‘Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestière’, 54280 Champenoux, France
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  • Jean-François Molino,

    1. IRD, UMR AMAP, TA-A51/PS2, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
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  • Eric A. Nicolini,

    1. CIRAD, UMR ‘Ecologie des Forêts de Guyane’, 97387 Kourou Cedex, French Guiana and CIRAD-ES, Research Unit ‘Biens et Services des Ecosystémes Forestiers tropicaux’, Embrapa Amazonia Oriental, Caixa Postal, 48, Belem, Para - CEP 66095-100, Brasil
    2. IRD, UMR AMAP, TA-A51/PS2, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
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  • Daniel Sabatier

    1. IRD, UMR AMAP, TA-A51/PS2, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
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Correspondence author. E-mail: chris.baraloto@ecofog.gf

Summary

1. Considerable debate surrounds the extent to which tropical forests can be managed for resource extraction while conserving biodiversity and ecosystem properties, which depend on functional composition. Here we evaluate the compatibility of these aims by examining the effects of logging on taxonomic and functional diversity and composition in a tropical forest.

2. Twenty years after selective logging, we inventoried 4140 stems regenerating in logging gaps and adjacent undisturbed areas, and we integrated a database of 13 functional traits describing leaf and wood economics of tropical trees.

3. We found no differences in taxonomic and functional richness among habitats, but logging gaps had significantly higher taxonomic and functional evenness.

4. Logging also effected striking, long-term changes in both species and functional composition. In particular, the xylem density of recruits in logging gaps was 6% less than in unlogged forests, leaves were 11% less tough and had 6–13% greater mineral nutrient concentrations.

5.Synthesis and applications. Our results suggest that managers of tropical forests should limit overall surface area converted to logging gaps by creating fewer, larger gaps during selective logging, to reduce impacts on the taxonomic and functional composition of the regenerating stand.

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