Ecology of an African Rain Forest: Logging in Kibale and the Conflict Between Conservation and Exploitation

Thomas T. Struhsaker summarizes 20 years of research in the Kibale forest in Uganda, one of the most important centers for the study of tropical rain forests in Africa. Among the longest ongoing projects in rain forest ecology anywhere, Struhsaker's differs from the great majority of logging studies by emphasizing the fauna rather than looking only at the commercially valuable timber species. By providing long-term data on a variety of plants and animals, it offers the first truly in-depth synthesis of the consequences of selective logging in the tropics. The main body of the book demonstrates the adverse effects of logging - as many as 25 years after the event - on community structure and numerous other aspects of forest ecology. The long-term data summarized here on the population dynamics of rain forest trees, primates, rodents, duikers, and elephants are unrivaled and will be widely cited, as will the data on seasonality, tree phrenology, gap dynamics, rainfall, and temperature. Struhsaker addresses the underlying causes of tropical deforestation and concludes that although there are numerous proximate factors, the ultimate causes are rapidly increasing human populations and rates of consumption per capita. He draws comparisons with relevant studies elsewhere in the tropics and offerse specific recommendations to address the problems.