References of "Beeckman, Hans"
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See detailTowards improving the assessment of rainforest carbon: Complementary evidence from repeated diameter measurements and dated wood
Ilondea, Bhely Angoboy; De Mil, Tom ULiege; Hubau, Wannes et al

in Dendrochronologia (2020), 62

We explore whether a growth-ring analysis can produce additional information about carbon budgets in tropical forests. Such forests are characterized by a high number of species and by trees that rarely ... [more ▼]

We explore whether a growth-ring analysis can produce additional information about carbon budgets in tropical forests. Such forests are characterized by a high number of species and by trees that rarely have anatomically distinct annual growth rings, which hampers the application of dendrochronological tools in carbon balance assessments in the tropics. We use forest inventory data and archived annual diameter measurements from the Luki Biosphere Reserve in the southwestern margin of the Congo Basin forest massif. In addition, dated wood data are available from the same location thanks to tag nail traces that allow for the measurement of growth increments over a period of 66 years. We find that precise increment measurements based on dated wood are advisable for small subsets of many less abundant species and for functional species groups characterized by slow growth. The dated wood approach shows that many understory trees with non-periodical rings remain in a steady state for long periods of time. These results suggest a dated wood approach is advisable for studies of growth trajectories of individual trees that might be of importance for carbon assessments in degraded forests. [less ▲]

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See detailLong-term thermal sensitivity of Earth’s tropical forests
Sullivan, Martin J.P.; Lewis, Simon L.; Affum-Baffoe, Kofi et al

in Science (2020), 368

The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such ... [more ▼]

The sensitivity of tropical forest carbon to climate is a key uncertainty in predicting global climate change. Although short-term drying and warming are known to affect forests, it is unknown if such effects translate into long-term responses. Here, we analyze 590 permanent plots measured across the tropics to derive the equilibrium climate controls on forest carbon. Maximum temperature is the most important predictor of aboveground biomass (−9.1 megagrams of carbon per hectare per degree Celsius), primarily by reducing woody productivity, and has a greater impact per °C in the hottest forests (>32.2°C). Our results nevertheless reveal greater thermal resilience than observations of short-term variation imply. To realize the long-term climate adaptation potential of tropical forests requires both protecting them and stabilizing Earth’s climate. [less ▲]

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See detailAsynchronous carbon sink saturation in African and Amazonian tropical forests
Hubau, Wannes; Lewis, Simon L.; Phillips, Oliver L. et al

in Nature (2020), 579

Structurally intact tropical forests sequestered about half of the global terrestrial carbon uptake over the 1990s and early 2000s, removing about 15 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions1–3 ... [more ▼]

Structurally intact tropical forests sequestered about half of the global terrestrial carbon uptake over the 1990s and early 2000s, removing about 15 per cent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions1–3. Climate-driven vegetation models typically predict that this tropical forest ‘carbon sink’ will continue for decades4,5. Here we assess trends in the carbon sink using 244 structurally intact African tropical forests spanning 11 countries, compare them with 321 published plots from Amazonia and investigate the underlying drivers of the trends. The carbon sink in live aboveground biomass in intact African tropical forests has been stable for the three decades to 2015, at 0.66 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year (95 per cent confidence interval 0.53–0.79), in contrast to the long-term decline in Amazonian forests6. Therefore the carbon sink responses of Earth’s two largest expanses of tropical forest have diverged. The difference is largely driven by carbon losses from tree mortality, with no detectable multi-decadal trend in Africa and a long-term increase in Amazonia. Both continents show increasing tree growth, consistent with the expected net effect of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and air temperature7–9. Despite the past stability of the African carbon sink, our most intensively monitored plots suggest a post-2010 increase in carbon losses, delayed compared to Amazonia, indicating asynchronous carbon sink saturation on the two continents. A statistical model including carbon dioxide, temperature, drought and forest dynamics accounts for the observed trends and indicates a long-term future decline in the African sink, whereas the Amazonian sink continues to weaken rapidly. Overall, the uptake of carbon into Earth’s intact tropical forests peaked in the 1990s. Given that the global terrestrial carbon sink is increasing in size, independent observations indicating greater recent carbon uptake into the Northern Hemisphere landmass10 reinforce our conclusion that the intact tropical forest carbon sink has already peaked. This saturation and ongoing decline of the tropical forest carbon sink has consequences for policies intended to stabilize Earth’s climate. [less ▲]

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See detailTRY plant trait database – enhanced coverage and open access
Kattge, Jens; Bönisch, Gerhard; Díaz, Sandra et al

in Global Change Biology (2020), 26(1), 119-188

Abstract Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic ... [more ▼]

Abstract Plant traits—the morphological, anatomical, physiological, biochemical and phenological characteristics of plants—determine how plants respond to environmental factors, affect other trophic levels, and influence ecosystem properties and their benefits and detriments to people. Plant trait data thus represent the basis for a vast area of research spanning from evolutionary biology, community and functional ecology, to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem and landscape management, restoration, biogeography and earth system modelling. Since its foundation in 2007, the TRY database of plant traits has grown continuously. It now provides unprecedented data coverage under an open access data policy and is the main plant trait database used by the research community worldwide. Increasingly, the TRY database also supports new frontiers of trait-based plant research, including the identification of data gaps and the subsequent mobilization or measurement of new data. To support this development, in this article we evaluate the extent of the trait data compiled in TRY and analyse emerging patterns of data coverage and representativeness. Best species coverage is achieved for categorical traits—almost complete coverage for ‘plant growth form’. However, most traits relevant for ecology and vegetation modelling are characterized by continuous intraspecific variation and trait–environmental relationships. These traits have to be measured on individual plants in their respective environment. Despite unprecedented data coverage, we observe a humbling lack of completeness and representativeness of these continuous traits in many aspects. We, therefore, conclude that reducing data gaps and biases in the TRY database remains a key challenge and requires a coordinated approach to data mobilization and trait measurements. This can only be achieved in collaboration with other initiatives. [less ▲]

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See detailTesting the divergent adaptation of two congeneric tree species on a rainfall gradient using eco-physio-morphological traits
Gorel, Anaïs ULiege; Steppe, Kathy; Beeckman, Hans et al

in Biotropica (2019)

In tropical Africa, evidence of widely distributed genera transcending biomes or habitat boundaries has been reported. The evolutionary processes that allowed these lineages to disperse and adapt into new ... [more ▼]

In tropical Africa, evidence of widely distributed genera transcending biomes or habitat boundaries has been reported. The evolutionary processes that allowed these lineages to disperse and adapt into new environments are far from being resolved. To better understand these processes, we propose an integrated approach, based on the eco-physio-morphological traits of two sister species with adjacent distributions along a rainfall gradient. We used wood anatomical traits, plant hydraulics (vulnerability to cavitation, wood volumetric water content and hydraulic capacitance) and growth data from the natural habitat, in a common garden, to compare species with known phylogeny, very similar morphologically, but occupying contrasting habitats: Erythrophleum ivorense (wet forest) and Erythrophleum suaveolens (moist forest and forest gallery). We identified some slight differences in wood anatomical traits between the two species associated with strong differences in hydraulics, growth, and overall species distribution. The moist forest species, E. suaveolens had narrower vessels and intervessel pits, and higher vessel cell-wall reinforcement than E. ivorense. These traits allow a high resistance to cavitation and a continuous internal water supply of the xylem during water shortage, allowing a higher fitness during drought periods, but limiting growth. Our results confirm a trade-off between drought tolerance and growth, controlled by subtle adaptations in wood traits, as a key mechanism leading to the niche partitioning between the two Erythrophleum species. The generality of this trade-off and its importance in the diversification of the African tree flora remains to be tested. Our integrated eco-physio-morpho approach could be the way forward. [less ▲]

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See detailThe persistence of carbon in the African forest understory
Hubau, Wannes; De Mil, Tom; Van den Bulcke, Jan et al

in Nature Plants (2019)

Quantifying carbon dynamics in forests is critical for understanding their role in long-term climate regulation1–4. Yet little is known about tree longevity in tropical forests3,5–8, a factor that is ... [more ▼]

Quantifying carbon dynamics in forests is critical for understanding their role in long-term climate regulation1–4. Yet little is known about tree longevity in tropical forests3,5–8, a factor that is vital for estimating carbon persistence3,4. Here we calculate mean carbon age (the period that carbon is fixed in trees7) in different strata of African tropical forests using (1) growthring records with a unique timestamp accurately demarcating 66 years of growth in one site and (2) measurements of diameter increments from the African Tropical Rainforest Observation Network (23 sites). We find that in spite of their much smaller size, in understory trees mean carbon age (74 years) is greater than in sub-canopy (54 years) and canopy (57 years) trees and similar to carbon age in emergent trees (66 years). The remarkable carbon longevity in the understory results from slow and aperiodic growth as an adaptation to limited resource availability9–11. Our analysis also reveals that while the understory represents a small share (11%) of the carbon stock12,13, it contributes disproportionally to the forest carbon sink (20%). We conclude that accounting for the diversity of carbon age and carbon sequestration among different forest strata is critical for effective conservation management14–16 and for accurate modelling of carbon cycling4. [less ▲]

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See detailThe African timber tree Entandrophragma congoense (Pierre ex De Wild.) A.Chev. is morphologically and genetically distinct from Entandrophragma angolense (Welw.) C.DC
Monthe, Franck K.; Duminil, Jérôme; Kasongo Yakusu, Emmanuel et al

in Tree Genetics and Genomes (2018), 14

Interpreting morphological variability in terms of species delimitation can be challenging. However, correcting species delineation can have strong implications for the sustainable management of exploited ... [more ▼]

Interpreting morphological variability in terms of species delimitation can be challenging. However, correcting species delineation can have strong implications for the sustainable management of exploited species. Up to now, species delimitation between two putative timber species from African forests, Entandrophragma congoense and E. angolense, remained unclear. To investigate their differences, we applied an integrated approach which combines morphological traits and genetic markers.We defined 13 morphological characters from 81 herbarium specimens and developed 15 new polymorphic microsatellite markers to genotype 305 samples (herbarium samples and specimens collected in the field across the species distribution ranges). Principal component analysis (PCA) of morphological data and the Bayesian clustering analyses of genetic data were used to assess differentiation between putative species. These analyses support two well-differentiated groups (FST = 0.30) occurring locally in sympatry. Moreover, these two groups present distinct morphological characters at the level of the trunk, leaflets, and seeds. Our genetic markers identified few individuals (4%) that seem to be hybrids, though there is no evidence of genetic introgression from geographic patterns of genetic variation. Hence, our results provide clear support to recognize E. congoense as a species distinct from E. angolense, with a much lower genetic diversity than the latter, and that should be managed accordingly. This work highlights the power of microsatellite markers in resolving species boundaries. [less ▲]

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See detailPan-tropical prediction of forest structure from the largest trees
Bastin, Jean-François; Rutishauser, Ervan; Kellner, James R. et al

in Global Ecology and Biogeography (2018)

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See detailTesting a general approach to assess the degree of disturbance in tropical forests
Sellan, Giacomo; Simini, Filippo; Maritan, Amos et al

in Journal of Vegetation Science (2017), 28(3), 459668

Questions: Is there any theoretical model enabling predictions of the optimal tree size distribution in tropical communities? Can we use such a theoretical framework for quantifying the degree of ... [more ▼]

Questions: Is there any theoretical model enabling predictions of the optimal tree size distribution in tropical communities? Can we use such a theoretical framework for quantifying the degree of disturbance? Location: Reserve of Yangambi, northeast region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Methods: We applied an allometricmodel based on the assumption that a vir- tually undisturbed forest uses all available resources. In this condition, the forest structure (e.g. the tree size distribution) is theoretically predictable fromthe scal- ing of the tree crown with tree height at an individual level. The degree of dis- turbance can be assessed through comparing the slopes of the tree size distribution curves in the observed and predicted conditions. We tested this tool in forest stands subjected to different degrees of disturbance. We inventoried trees >1.3 m in height by measuring the DBH in three plots of 1 ha each, and measured tree height, crownradius and crownlength in a sub-sample of trees. Results: All tree species, independently of the site, shared the same exponents of allometric relationships: tree height vs tree diameter, crown radius vs tree height, crown length vs tree height and consequently crown volume vs tree height, suggesting that similar trajectories of biomass allocation have evolved irrespective of species. The observed tree size distributions appeared to be power laws (excluding the finite size effect) and, as predicted, the slope was steeper in the less disturbed forest (?2.34) compared to the most disturbed (?1.99). The difference in the slope compared to the theoretical fully functional forest (?2.65) represents the metric for assessing the degree of disturbance. Conclusions: We developed a simple tool for operationalizing the concept of ‘disturbance’ in tropical forests. This approach is species-independent, needs minimal theoretical assumptions, the measurement of only a few structural traits and requires a low investment in equipment, time and computer skills. Its simple implementation opens new perspectives for effectively addressing initiatives of forest protection and/or restoration. [less ▲]

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See detailHydraulic and wood traits of two congeneric tropical tree species in their core habitat
Gorel, Anaïs ULiege; Steppe, kathy; Beeckman, Hans et al

Conference (2017, February 06)

Background: Strong niche partitioning across rainfall gradients has been identified for several tropical tree genera. The link between hydraulic and wood anatomical traits, associated with drought ... [more ▼]

Background: Strong niche partitioning across rainfall gradients has been identified for several tropical tree genera. The link between hydraulic and wood anatomical traits, associated with drought tolerance, however remains to be explored, in order to identify the mechanisms shaping the range limits of tropical tree species. Aim: In this study, we aimed to identify the differences in hydraulic and wood traits between two congeneric tree species with contrasting distributions in moist and wet tropical forests. Location: Central African moist and wet forests Methods: In the core habitat of Erythrophleum ivorense (wet forest) and of E. suaveolens (moist), we collected branches to construct vulnerability curves and measure hydraulic capacitance, and both stem and branch wood samples to link the hydraulic traits to wood anatomy. Major results: E. suaveolens, which is characteristic of drier forests, is clearly more resistant to cavitation than E. ivorense, and also possess a greater hydraulic capacitance (i.e. the capacity that species have to mitigate periods of water storage by using internally stored water). In agreement with this great drought tolerance for E. suaveolens, wood anatomy revealed a high number of small vessels associated with small intervessel pits, features minimizing cavitation risk but also reducing water transport. Main conclusions: Drought tolerance, as indicated by both hydraulic and wood traits, strongly differed between the closely related species and explained their contrasting distribution, and affinity for moist (E. ivorense) and wet (E. suaveolens) forests. However, phenotypic plasticity in hydraulic and wood traits remained to be addressed to examine the extent of water use differences between the two species. [less ▲]

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See detailPresent-day central African forest is a legacy of the 19th century human history
Morin, Julie ULiege; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; Favier, Charly et al

in eLife (2017)

The populations of light-demanding trees that dominate the canopy of central African forests are now aging. Here, we show that the lack of regeneration of these populations began ca. 165 ya (around 1850 ... [more ▼]

The populations of light-demanding trees that dominate the canopy of central African forests are now aging. Here, we show that the lack of regeneration of these populations began ca. 165 ya (around 1850) after major anthropogenic disturbances ceased. Since 1885, less itinerancy and disturbance in the forest has occurred because the colonial administrations concentrated people and villages along the primary communication axes. Local populations formerly gardened the forest by creating scattered openings, which were sufficiently large for the establishment of light-demanding trees. Currently, common logging operations do not create suitable openings for the regeneration of these species, whereas deforestation degrades landscapes. Using an interdisciplinary approach, which included paleoecological, archaeological, historical, and dendrological data, we highlight the long-term history of human activities across central African forests and assess the contribution of these activities to present-day forest structure and composition. The conclusions of this sobering analysis present challenges to current silvicultural practices and to those of the future. [less ▲]

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See detailApplying TDWG Standards to assess the Ecosystem Value of UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserves in Africa
Mergen, Patricia; Beeckman, Hans; Delvaux, Claire et al

in European Conference of Tropical Ecology (GTÖ) (2017)

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See detailHigh spatial resolution of late-Holocene human activities in the moist forests of central Africa using soil charcoal and charred botanical remains
Morin, Julie ULiege; Biwolé, Achille; Gorel, Anaïs ULiege et al

in Holocene (2016), 26(12), 1954-1967

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities ... [more ▼]

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities have hardly been investigated with satisfactory accuracy. In this study, we propose to characterize past human activities at local scale by using a systematic quantitative and qualitative methodology based on soil charcoal and charred botanical remains. A total of 88 equidistant test-pits were excavated along six transects in two contrasting forest types in southern Cameroon. Charred botanical remains were collected by water-sieving and sorted by type (wood charcoals, oil palm endocarps, and unidentified seeds). A total of 50 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 14C dates were also obtained. Results showed that charred macroremains were found at multiple places in the forest, suggesting scattered human activities, which were distributed into two main periods (Phase A: 2300-1300 BP – Phase B: 580 BP to the present). Charred botanical remains indicated two types of land use: (i) domestic, with oil palm endocarps most often associated with potsherds (villages) and (ii) agricultural, with charcoal as probable remnant of slash-and-burn cultivation (fields). Oil palm endocarp abundance decreased with distance from the identified human settlements. Our methodology allowed documenting, at high resolution, the spatial and temporal patterns of human activities in central African moist forests and could be applied to other tropical contexts. [less ▲]

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See detailThe last 1,000 years in the Northern Congo Basin
Morin, Julie ULiege; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; Favier, Charly et al

Conference (2015, November)

Review of the events that happened in the northern Congo basin during the last 1,000 yr. Positive impact of human disturbances on the regeneration of light-demanding trees. Negative impact of the European ... [more ▼]

Review of the events that happened in the northern Congo basin during the last 1,000 yr. Positive impact of human disturbances on the regeneration of light-demanding trees. Negative impact of the European colonization and following events on human populations and tree regeneration. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Tervuren xylarium and wood biology to decode the ecological memory of forests and trees
Morin, Julie ULiege; Bourland, Nils; De Ridder, Maaike et al

Conference (2015, October 15)

Presentation of the competences held by the Wood Biology Service members of the Royal Museum for Central Africa, relative to their potential uses in archaeology.

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See detailSeeing Central African forests through their largest trees
Bastin, Jean-François ULiege; Barbier, Nicolas; Réjou-Méchain, Maxime et al

in Scientific Reports (2015), 5

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which ... [more ▼]

Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies. [less ▲]

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See detailLate-Holocene tropical moist-forests of southeastern Cameroon: some insight from soil charcoal analysis
Morin, Julie ULiege; Biwolé, Achille; Bourland, Nils et al

Conference (2015, August)

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. Little is known, however, about past vegetation in this region that remains underexplored ... [more ▼]

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. Little is known, however, about past vegetation in this region that remains underexplored (Vleminckx et al. 2014; Morin-Rivat et al. 2014). Determining the past specific composition of these forests could allow bringing insights into their evolution over time and providing data about their resilience capacity facing global change. We performed a pedoanthracological analysis in the semi-deciduous forests of southeastern Cameroon. We excavated 53 test pits of 53 50 × 50 × 60 cm in plots of botanical inventory along a NS 80-km long mega-transect that followed a vegetation gradient. We sorted and quantified charred macrobotanical remains by layers of 10 cm, then identified species from wood charcoals. We used the InsideWood database, implemented with 163 new anatomical descriptions of woods present in the study area by using the reference collection of African woods of the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Belgium). Finally, we obtained 25 radiocarbon dates on charcoals and oil palm endocarps. Results showed that repeated fire events occurred across the study area during the last 2500 years, soon after the well-documented “rainforest crisis” (e.g. Lézine et al. 2013). The analyzed charcoals are likely human-induced regarding evidence of associated human settlements (e.g. potsherds). Aged were distributed into two time periods: the Early Iron Age (2300-1300 BP) and the Late Iron Age (700-100 BP) with an intermediate hiatus in human occupation (see e.g. Wotzka 2006; Morin-Rivat et al. 2014). Specific composition during both periods did not strongly differ from current composition, which is now dominated by light-demanding canopy trees belonging to old-growth semi-deciduous Celtis forests (Gond et al. 2013; Fayolle et al. 2014). This argues in favor of the maintenance of light-demanding tree species by anthropogenic activities, such as slash-and-burn shifting cultivation. We conclude that moist forests have a good resilience capacity regarding moderate and scattered disturbances. These forests can nonetheless be deeply impacted by land-use intensification (e.g. degraded forests along roads and close to cities; Gond et al. 2013). [less ▲]

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See detailContributing to wood anatomical databases to improve species identification, phylogeny and functional trait research in Central Africa
Morin, Julie ULiege; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; De Ridder, Maaike et al

Poster (2015, May 26)

Central African rainforests shelter a high number of woody species that are anatomically very different. Knowledge of taxon-specific wood anatomical features has proven indispensable for scientific and ... [more ▼]

Central African rainforests shelter a high number of woody species that are anatomically very different. Knowledge of taxon-specific wood anatomical features has proven indispensable for scientific and non-scientific applications. The field of wood anatomy and identification has been drastically revolutionized by the development of internationally recognized lists of precisely illustrated microscopic features (e.g. IAWA Committee 1989), together with the launch of InsideWood, an online search database using these features to narrow down identification results (e.g. Wheeler 2011). However, despite these massive efforts, the anatomy of many species or even genera remains in the dark, especially in species-rich regions. Wood anatomy has been formally described for less than 25% of the Central African woody species (Hubau et al. 2012), the focus has been mainly on timber species and variations in wood anatomical structure remain to be explored. Therefore, we are assembling a wood anatomical database of about 800 species covering the Guineo-Congolian region using material from InsideWood and the Tervuren xylarium (new descriptions). As such, we present how large anatomical databases hold interesting perspectives for (i) wood and charcoal identification, (ii) exploring the phylogenetic signal of wood anatomy, and (iii) the relationship between wood anatomical features and functional traits. [less ▲]

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See detailAnatomic features underlying wood density, in 110 rainforest tree species from central Congo basin
de Haulleville, Thalès ULiege; Rousseau, Mélissa; Morin-Rivat, Julie ULiege et al

Poster (2015, May)

Investigate the influence of fiber thickness and vessel diameter on the wood density in 110 rainforest tree species, and the relationships between wood density, wood water content and shrinking ratio.

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See detailHigh spatial resolution of late-Holocene human activities in the moist forests of Central Africa using soil charcoal and charred botanical remains
Morin, Julie ULiege; Biwolé, Achille; Gorel, Anaïs ULiege et al

Conference (2015, April 27)

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities ... [more ▼]

Palaeoecological and archaeological studies have demonstrated that human populations have long inhabited the moist forests of central Africa. However, spatial and temporal patterns of human activities have hardly been investigated with satisfactory accuracy. In this study, we propose to characterize past human activities at local scale by using a systematic quantitative and qualitative methodology based on soil charcoal and charred botanical remains. A total of 88 equidistant test-pits were excavated along six transects in two contrasting forest types in southern Cameroon. Charred botanical remains were collected by water-sieving and sorted by type (wood charcoals, oil palm endocarps, and unidentified seeds). A total of 50 Accelerator Mass Spectrometry 14C dates were also obtained. Results showed that charred macroremains were found at multiple places in the forest, suggesting scattered human activities, which were distributed into two main periods (Phase A: 2300-1300 BP – Phase B: 580 BP to the present). Charred botanical remains indicated two types of land use: (i) domestic, with oil palm endocarps most often associated with potsherds (villages) and (ii) agricultural, with charcoal as probable remnant of slash-and-burn cultivation (fields). Oil palm endocarp abundance decreased with distance from the identified human settlements. Our methodology allowed documenting, at high resolution, the spatial and temporal patterns of human activities in central African moist forests and could be applied to other tropical contexts. [less ▲]

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