The association between rainforest disturbance and recovery, tree community composition, and community traits in the Yangambi area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Forests in the Congo Basin are becoming increasingly threatened by human disturbances. These forests play a crucial role in global biodiversity, though understanding the full impact of forest degradation has been difficult due to the intact canopy cover. It is important to assess the extent that human activities have impacted these forests to make decisions on the forests’ conservation and management practices.
Goals and Methods
The authors determine the associations between human disturbance and forest characteristics in the Yangambi region of North-Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. They conduct a field study sampling vegetation on disturbed old growth forest, regrowth forest, and intact old growth forest. Forest plots are inventoried for tree abundance and cover as well as leaf area cover.
Conclusions and Takeaways
The authors identify significant differences in community composition and traits as well as forest structure among the three forest categories. Overall, intact old growth forests hold the greatest quantity of trees, species, and wood density compared to disturbed old growth forest. Tree community composition and forest structure significantly differ between forest categories, and species diversity differs even more. Species diversity recovers more quickly than forest community composition and structure. The authors suggest these findings are valuable to understanding the rate and pathways of forest succession in the Yangambi area of the DR Congo.
The association between rainforest disturbance and recovery, tree community composition, and community traits in the Yangambi area in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Journal of Tropical Ecology. 2022;38(6):426 - 436. doi:10.1017/S0266467422000347.