References of "Bourland, Nils"
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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 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 detailDevelopment of nuclear SNP markers for the timber tracking of the African tree species Sapelli, Entandrophragma cylindricum
Blanc-Jolivet, Céline; Kersten, Birgit; Bourland, Nils et al

in Conservation Genetics Resources (2017)

We describe the development of new nuclear SNP markers for the genetic timber tracking of the geographical origin of Sapelli, Entandrophragma cylindricum (Meliaceae). Restriction associated DNA sequencing ... [more ▼]

We describe the development of new nuclear SNP markers for the genetic timber tracking of the geographical origin of Sapelli, Entandrophragma cylindricum (Meliaceae). Restriction associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) of two reference individuals yielded 1131 putative SNPs. Among those, 131 were selected to design four MassARRAY multiplexes and screened at 178 individuals. Seventy-two loci were selected for further use in genetic tracking. [less ▲]

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See detailRevealing hidden species diversity in closely related species using nuclear SNPs, SSRs and DNA sequences - a case study in the tree genus Milicia
Daïnou, Kasso ULiege; Blanc-Jolivet, Céline; Degen, Bernd et al

in BMC Evolutionary Biology (2016), 16(259), 15

Background: Species delimitation in closely related plant taxa can be challenging because (i) reproductive barriers are not always congruent with morphological differentiation, (ii) use of plastid ... [more ▼]

Background: Species delimitation in closely related plant taxa can be challenging because (i) reproductive barriers are not always congruent with morphological differentiation, (ii) use of plastid sequences might lead to misinterpretation, (iii) rare species might not be sampled. We revisited molecular-based species delimitation in the African genus Milicia, currently divided into M. regia (West Africa) and M. excelsa (from West to East Africa). We used 435 samples collected in West, Central and East Africa. We genotyped SNP and SSR loci to identify genetic clusters, and sequenced two plastid regions (psbA-trnH, trnC-ycf6) and a nuclear gene (At103) to confirm species’ divergence and compare species delimitation methods. We also examined whether ecological niche differentiation was congruent with sampled genetic structure. Results: West African M. regia, West African and East African M. excelsa samples constituted three well distinct genetic clusters according to SNPs and SSRs. In Central Africa, two genetic clusters were consistently inferred by both types of markers, while a few scattered samples, sympatric with the preceding clusters but exhibiting leaf traits of M. regia, were grouped with the West African M. regia cluster based on SNPs or formed a distinct cluster based on SSRs. SSR results were confirmed by sequence data from the nuclear region At103 which revealed three distinct ‘Fields For Recombination’ corresponding to (i) West African M. regia, (ii) Central African samples with leaf traits of M. regia, and (iii) all M. excelsa samples. None of the plastid sequences provide indication of distinct clades of the three species-like units. Niche modelling techniques yielded a significant correlation between niche overlap and genetic distance. Conclusions: Our genetic data suggest that three species of Milicia could be recognized. It is surprising that the occurrence of two species in Central Africa was not reported for this well-known timber tree. Globally, our work highlights the importance of collecting samples in a systematic way and the need for combining different nuclear markers when dealing with species complexes. Recognizing cryptic species is particularly crucial for economically exploited species because some hidden taxa might actually be endangered as they are merged with more abundant species. [less ▲]

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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 detailEnrichment of Central African logged forests with high-value tree species: testing a new approach to regenerating degraded forests
Doucet, Jean-Louis ULiege; Daïnou, Kasso ULiege; Ligot, Gauthier ULiege et al

in International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services and Management (2016)

In natural forests of Central Africa, several studies indicate a dramatic decrease in commercial trees, including species of concern for conservation. Enrichment planting with these species will favor ... [more ▼]

In natural forests of Central Africa, several studies indicate a dramatic decrease in commercial trees, including species of concern for conservation. Enrichment planting with these species will favor both the long-term recovery of their populations and biodiversity conservation in logged forests. In this study, we analyzed the survival and growth of 23 species in plantations. Fourteen 0.2–1.1 ha mixed species plantations consisting of single-species 15 × 15 m blocks were studied for 5 years in a logging concession of southeastern Cameroon. The plantation design considered both species light requirements and sensitivity to damage by pests. To identify the best species for enrichment planting, we assessed both species performance and plantation costs. We also tested for relationships between species traits and species performance. Mean annual diameter growth increments ranged from 1.67 to 42.9 mm. No significant relationship was found between growth and survival. Herbivory by wild Bovidae was the main cause of mortality and should be carefully considered in rehabilitation efforts. We found a significant negative relationship between wood density and maximum growth rate. The other traits tested were not good predictors of species performance in plantations. The two best-performing species, Triplochiton scleroxylon and Terminalia superba, could reach the minimum cutting diameter during a 30-year cutting cycle. Costs were high and mechanized site preparation is suggested to reduce them. Widespread adoption of such plantations will only occur if financial incentives or national regulations for assuring regeneration are implemented. [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 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 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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See detailDifferential Performance between Two Timber Species in Forest Logging Gaps and in Plantations in Central Africa
Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; Ouedraogo, Dakis-Yaoba ULiege; Ligot, Gauthier ULiege et al

in Forests (2015), 6(2), 380-394

To develop silvicultural guidelines for high-value timber species of Central African moist forests, we assessed the performance of the pioneer Milicia excelsa (iroko, Moraceae), and of the non-pioneer ... [more ▼]

To develop silvicultural guidelines for high-value timber species of Central African moist forests, we assessed the performance of the pioneer Milicia excelsa (iroko, Moraceae), and of the non-pioneer light demander Pericopsis elata (assamela, Fabaceae) in logging gaps and in plantations in highly degraded areas in south-eastern Cameroon. The survival and size of each seedling was regularly monitored in the silvicultural experiments. Differences in performance and allometry were tested between species in logging gaps and in plantations. The two species performance in logging gaps was significantly different from plantations and concurred with the expectations of the performance trade-off hypothesis but not with the expectations of species light requirements. The pioneer M. excelsa survived significantly better in logging gaps while the non-pioneer P. elata grew significantly faster in plantations. The high mortality and slow growth of M. excelsa in plantations is surprising for a pioneer species but could be explained by herbivory (attacks from a gall-making psyllid). Identifying high-value native timber species (i) with good performance in plantations such as P. elata is of importance to restore degraded areas; and (ii) with good performance in logging gaps such as M. excelsa is of importance to maintain timber resources and biodiversity in production forests. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of charred botanical remains provides more accurate information on past history in Central Africa
Morin, Julie ULiege; Biwolé, Achille; Bourland, Nils et al

Poster (2015, January 30)

In palaeoenvironmental studies, charred botanical remains have rarely been identified to the species level before being sent to radiocarbon dating. Moreover, the age of most tropical spp. and thereby the ... [more ▼]

In palaeoenvironmental studies, charred botanical remains have rarely been identified to the species level before being sent to radiocarbon dating. Moreover, the age of most tropical spp. and thereby the age of the carbon sequestered during plant growth is not known. Dating unidentified charred wood in the tropics should be thus treated with caution because the accuracy of the dates is not guaranteed. Here we present 71 dates obtained on charred endocarps and wood charcoals sampled in soil pits in Cameroon and in the Rep. of the Congo. We taxonomically identified 43 samples then selected both identified and unidentified individual fragments for radiocarbon dating. We performed summed probability distributions of the dates calibrated in BP for the 43 identified and the 28 unidentified samples separately then for the whole dates. Results showed that the dates obtained on unidentified samples better fit the established chronology for Central Africa but that they also presented less precise standard deviations than the dates obtained on identified short-lived material, and that the dates on identified samples provide more detailed trends about the phases of human occupation in Central Africa after 2,500 BP. We can assume that dating unidentified material may introduce some blur into chronologies and that the selection of identified charred botanical remains should be systematically applied for palaeoenvironmental reconstructions in tropical contexts to refine the chronologies. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Tightly Linked Are Pericopsis elata (Fabaceae) Patches to Anthropogenic Disturbances in Southeastern Cameroon?
Bourland, Nils; Cerisier, François; Daïnou, Kasso ULiege et al

in Forests (2015), 6(2), 293-310

While most past studies have emphasized the relationships between specific forest stands and edaphic factors, recent observations in Central African moist forests suggested that an increase of slash-and ... [more ▼]

While most past studies have emphasized the relationships between specific forest stands and edaphic factors, recent observations in Central African moist forests suggested that an increase of slash-and-burn agriculture since 3000–2000 BP (Before Present) could be the main driver of the persistence of light-demanding tree species. In order to examine anthropogenic factors in the persistence of such populations, our study focused on Pericopsis elata, an endangered clustered timber species. We used a multidisciplinary approach comprised of botanical, anthracological and archaeobotanical investigations to compare P. elata patches with surrounding stands of mixed forest vegetation (“out-zones”). Charcoal samples were found in both zones, but were significantly more abundant in the soils of patches. Eleven groups of taxa were identified from the charcoals, most of them also present in the current vegetation. Potsherds were detected only inside P. elata patches and at different soil depths, suggesting a long human presence from at least 2150 to 195 BP, as revealed by our charcoal radiocarbon dating. We conclude that current P. elata patches most likely result from shifting cultivation that occurred ca. two centuries ago. The implications of our findings for the dynamics and management of light-demanding tree species are discussed. [less ▲]

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See detailModéliser la croissance de quatre essences pour améliorer la gestion forestière au Cameroun
Fétéké, Fousseni; Perin, Jérôme ULiege; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege et al

in Bois et Forêts des Tropiques (2015), 325(3), 5-20

En Afrique centrale, l’aménagement forestier repose sur une méthode de simulation de la production forestière peu précise, susceptible d’hypothéquer la durabilité de l’exploitation. L’objectif de cette ... [more ▼]

En Afrique centrale, l’aménagement forestier repose sur une méthode de simulation de la production forestière peu précise, susceptible d’hypothéquer la durabilité de l’exploitation. L’objectif de cette étude est d’améliorer la prédiction de la croissance pour quatre essences commerciales importantes en Afrique centrale. Le dispositif d’étude a été installé dans le Sud-Est du Cameroun et comporte 387 arbres : 136 assamela (Pericopsis elata), 54 moabi (Baillonella toxisperma), 124 sapelli (Entandrophragma cylindricum), et 73 tali (Erythrophleum suaveolens). Le diamètre a été mesuré régulièrement entre 2009 et 2012. L’intensité de la compétition a été quantifiée à l’échelle d’une placette circulaire de 20 m de rayon installée autour de chaque arbre focal. Les caractéristiques topographiques et hydrologiques ont été estimées à l’aide d’un système d’information géographique. La croissance a été modélisée en intégrant le diamètre des arbres et les conditions de croissance (indice de compétition et environnement local). Les valeurs d’accroissement utilisées actuellement au Cameroun ne sont pas différentes des valeurs observées en forêt non perturbée par l’exploitation forestière pour l’assamela, le moabi et le tali, mais surestiment la croissance de 20 % pour le sapelli. Un modèle log-normal intégrant le diamètre des arbres et l’intensité de la compétition permet d’estimer l’accroissement des quatre essences avec un coefficient de détermination (R2) variant de 0,092 pour l’assamela à 0,47 pour le moabi. Les variables topographiques et hydrologiques ne permettent pas d’améliorer significativement la qualité des prédictions. Ces modèles peuvent être utilisés pour prédire l’accroissement à partir des données d’inventaires forestiers d’aménagement tels qu’ils sont réalisés en Afrique centrale, en vue d’améliorer la définition de paramètres de gestion tels que le diamètre minimum d’exploitation ou le taux de reconstitution pour les quatre essences étudiées. [less ▲]

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See detailGlobally, functional traits are weak predictors of juvenile tree growth, and we do not know why
Paine, C.E. Thimothy; Amissah, Lucy; Auge, Harald et al

in Journal of Ecology (2015), 103(4), 978-989

1. Plant functional traits, in particular specific leaf area (SLA), wood density and seed mass, are often good predictors of individual tree growth rates within communities. Individuals and species with ... [more ▼]

1. Plant functional traits, in particular specific leaf area (SLA), wood density and seed mass, are often good predictors of individual tree growth rates within communities. Individuals and species with high SLA, low wood density and small seeds tend to have faster growth rates. 2. If community-level relationships between traits and growth have general predictive value, then similar relationships should also be observed in analyses that integrate across taxa, biogeographic regions and environments. Such global consistency would imply that traits could serve as valuable proxies for the complex suite of factors that determine growth rate, and, therefore, could underpin a new generation of robust dynamic vegetation models. Alternatively, growth rates may depend more strongly on the local environment or growth–trait relationships may vary along environmental gradients. 3. We tested these alternative hypotheses using data on 27 352 juvenile trees, representing 278 species from 27 sites on all forested continents, and extensive functional trait data, 38% of which were obtained at the same sites at which growth was assessed. Data on potential evapotranspiration (PET), which summarizes the joint ecological effects of temperature and precipitation, were obtained from a global data base. 4. We estimated size-standardized relative height growth rates (SGR) for all species, then related them to functional traits and PET using mixed-effect models for the fastest growing species and for all species together. 5. Both the mean and 95th percentile SGR were more strongly associated with functional traits than with PET. PET was unrelated to SGR at the global scale. SGR increased with increasing SLA and decreased with increasing wood density and seed mass, but these traits explained only 3.1% of the variation in SGR. SGR–trait relationships were consistently weak across families and biogeographic zones, and over a range of tree statures. Thus, the most widely studied functional traits in plant ecology were poor predictors of tree growth over large scales. 6. Synthesis. We conclude that these functional traits alone may be unsuitable for predicting growth of trees over broad scales. Determining the functional traits that predict vital rates under specific environmental conditions may generate more insight than a monolithic global relationship can offer. [less ▲]

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See detailEnrichment of Logging Gaps with a High Conservation Value Species (Pericopsis elata) in a Central African Moist Forest
Ouedraogo, Dakis-Yaoba ULiege; Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; Daïnou, Kasso ULiege et al

in Forests (2014), 5(12), 3031-3047

In central Africa, most of the timber species require high light at the seedling stage for survival and growth. Forest managers face a regeneration shortage of these light-demanding timber species. To ... [more ▼]

In central Africa, most of the timber species require high light at the seedling stage for survival and growth. Forest managers face a regeneration shortage of these light-demanding timber species. To achieve long-term sustainability, there is a need for enrichment methods combining low cost and high species performance. The aim of this study was to assess the performance of Pericopsis elata seedlings in enriched logging gaps in Cameroon. Over five years; the survival and size of each seedling was monitored in 27 logging gaps that were either left without maintenance or cleared. Gaps were relatively small with an average total area of 155 m2. We found that planted seedlings of P. elata performed well in logging gaps. Even without any maintenance 61% of the planted seedlings survived after five years with an average annual diameter increment of 0.28 cm. P. elata appeared to be a good candidate species for enrichment in logging gaps. We demonstrated that the seedlings of P. elata tolerated a wide range of soil conditions but that their performance was strongly influenced by light availability (gap clearance), suggesting potentially improved performance of P. elata in high light environments such as in plantation or larger gaps. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalyse à haute résolution spatiale et temporelle des activités humaines à l’Holocène récent dans les forêts humides d’Afrique Centrale
Morin, Julie ULiege; Gorel, Anaïs ULiege; Biwolé, Achille et al

Poster (2014, November)

Des études paléoécologiques et archéologiques ont démontré que les populations humaines ont de longue date investi les forêts humides d’Afrique Centrale. Les occupations humaines ont toutefois été peu ... [more ▼]

Des études paléoécologiques et archéologiques ont démontré que les populations humaines ont de longue date investi les forêts humides d’Afrique Centrale. Les occupations humaines ont toutefois été peu documentées en raison de difficultés relatives à l’accès au terrain. Nous présentons ici une méthodologie systématique basée sur la quantification et la datation des macrorestes botaniques carbonisés pour définir les activités humaines passées en forêt tropicale africaine. Pour cela, 53 sondages équidistants ont été creusés dans 3 sites du sud-est-du Cameroun. Dans chaque sondage ont été prélevées des quantités fixes de sol par couche de 10 cm. Les macrorestes botaniques carbonisés ont été récoltés par tamisage à l’eau directement sur le site. Les refus de tamis ont été triés (charbons de bois, endocarpes de palmier à huile, graines non identifiées), pesés sur une balance de précision et analysés statistiquement. En outre, 25 échantillons ont été datés par AMS. Les résultats montrent que les activités humaines sont réparties en deux périodes : l’âge du Fer ancien entre 2300 et 1300 BP et l’âge du Fer récent entre 670 BP et l’actuel. En outre, les charbons de bois et les endocarpes de palmier à huile ne représentent pas le même type d’activités. Deux villages âge du Fer ancien datés d’environ 2000 BP ont été identifiés par la présence concomitante d’endocarpes de palmier à huile et de tessons céramiques. Les motifs circulaires imprimés dans la céramique et inédits pour la zone d’étude rappellent les gravures et décors céramiques découverts au Gabon et dans la zone de la Sangha-Likwala-aux-Herbes, datés également de 2000 BP. L’abondance décroissante des charbons dans l’orbe d’influence de ces villages pourrait correspondre à d’anciennes zones agricoles. Les perturbations les plus récentes peuvent, quant à elles, être mises en relation avec la végétation actuelle, en particulier les arbres émergents héliophiles qui dominent la composition floristique et qui sont des recrus post-culturaux. Pour la première fois, une méthodologie quantitative basée sur les restes archéobotaniques a été appliquée en Afrique Centrale. Elle nous a permis de documenter à haute résolution la répartition spatiale et temporelle des activités humaines à l’échelle locale. Ce travail sera poursuivi par une reconstitution paléoenvironnementale à partir de l’identification des macrorestes végétaux. [less ▲]

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See detailKnowing the past to anticipate the future: soil charcoal as a proxy to model forest evolution
Morin, Julie ULiege; Biwolé, Achille; Bourland, Nils et al

Poster (2014, October)

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. However little is known about their past evolution. Indeed, determining the past specific ... [more ▼]

Tropical forests of Central Africa constitute the second most important block of moist forest of the world. However little is known about their past evolution. Indeed, determining the past specific composition of these forests could allow modeling their evolution over time and providing data about their resilience capacity facing global change. To do this, we performed a pedoanthracological analysis in the semi-deciduous forests of southeastern Cameroon. We excavated test pits in 53 plots of botanical inventory along a gradient of vegetation, quantified wood charcoals by layers of 10 cm, identify the species present in charcoals, dated the charcoals by the radiocarbon method, then built up sequences including present forest composition. Results show that repeated fire events occurred across the study area during the last 2500 years. These disturbances are likely human-induced regarding evidence of anthropogenic activities (e.g. potsherds). Nonetheless the past specific composition does not strongly differ from the current one except for the oldest layers related to the major dry climatic event of 2500 BP. We conclude that moist forests have a good resilience capacity regarding moderate disturbances but were and will be deeply impacted by climate change. [less ▲]

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See detailPatterns of tree species composition across tropical African forests
Fayolle, Adeline ULiege; Swaine, Michael D.; Bastin, Jean-François ULiege et al

in Journal of Biogeography (2014), 41

Aim : In this study we identified large-scale variation in tree species composition across tropical African forests and determined the underlying environmental and historical factors. Location : Tropical ... [more ▼]

Aim : In this study we identified large-scale variation in tree species composition across tropical African forests and determined the underlying environmental and historical factors. Location : Tropical forests from Senegal to Mozambique. Methods : Distribution data were gathered for 1175 tree species in 455 sample sites scattered across tropical Africa, including all types of tropical forests (wet, moist, dry, and lowland to moderate elevation montane forests). The value of elevation and 19 climatic variables extracted from the BIOCLIM data set were assigned to each sample site. We determined the variation in species composition using correspondence analysis and identified the environmental correlates. We defined floristic clusters according to species composition and identified the characteristic species using indicator analysis. Results : We identified a major floristic discontinuity located at the Albertine rift that separated the dry, moist and wet forests of West and Central Africa (the entire Guineo-Congolian Region) from the upland and coastal forests of East Africa. Except for the Albertine Rift, we found no evidence to support the other proposed floristic discontinuities (Dahomey Gap etc.). We detected two main environmental gradients across tropical African forests. The rainfall gradient was strongly correlated with the variation in tree species composition in West and Central Africa. The elevation/temperature gradient highlighted the major floristic differences within East Africa and between East Africa and the Guineo-Congolian Region, the latter being most probably due to the geological disruption and associated climatic history of the East African uplift. Main conclusions : We found floristic evidence for three main biogeographical regions across the tropical African forests, and described six floristic clusters with particular environmental conditions within these regions: Coastal and Upland for East Africa, Dry and Wet-Moist for West Africa, and Moist and Wet for Central Africa. [less ▲]

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