Article (Scientific journals)
Biogeography of central African forests: Determinants, ongoing threats and conservation priorities of mammal assemblages
Fonteyn, Davy; Vermeulen, Cédric; Gorel, Anaïs et al.
2023In Diversity and Distributions
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Keywords :
artiodactyls; biogeography; carnivores; central Africa; primates; rivers; terrestrial mammals; tropical forests
Abstract :
[en] Aim: Central Africa shelters diverse and iconic megafauna, which is threatened by climate and land-use changes and increased hunting-induced defaunation. Though crucial for coordinating regional conservation actions, how species assemblages are spatially structured remains poorly understood. This study aims to fill this knowledge gap for mammals across central African forests.Location: Tropical moist forests from Nigeria to the Albertine Rift. Methods: An extensive compilation of forest-dwelling mammal species lists was made from wildlife and bushmeat- related surveys across central Africa. A beta-diversity approach enabling the clustering of surveys composed of similar species was imple-mented to identify and delimit zoogeographic districts, separately for three well- documented mammal orders: carnivores, primates and artiodactyls. Random forest classification models were then used to identify the environmental determinants of the district's distribution and to produce a continuous zoogeographic map (and associ-ated uncertainties) critical to assess the conservation status of each district and their ongoing threats. Results: While carnivores do not present a clear spatial structure within central African forests, our findings highlight the structuring role of rivers on both primate and artiodactyl assemblages' distributions. We retained eight and six spatially congru-ent districts for primates and artiodactyls, respectively. These districts were shaped by the Ubangi-Congo River system, and the Cross and Sanaga Rivers, with a second-ary role of insularity and precipitation identified for primates. Highly threatened dis-tricts were highlighted, especially in Nigeria and in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the latter including vast areas that are understudied and poorly represented in the protected area network. Main Conclusions: Beyond refining our understanding of the diversity and uniqueness of mammalian assemblages across central African forests, our map of zoogeographic districts has far- reaching implications for the conservation of highly threatened taxa, allowing to target species and areas of interest for further sampling, conservation and rewilding efforts.
Research center :
CIRAD, UPR Forêts et Sociétés
Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University
Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Arizona State University
Disciplines :
Zoology
Author, co-author :
Fonteyn, Davy  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département GxABT > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels ; CIRAD, UPR Forêts et Sociétés Campus International de Baillarguet Montpellier Cedex 5 France ; Forêts et Sociétés Univ Montpellier, CIRAD Montpellier France
Vermeulen, Cédric  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > TERRA Research Centre > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels
Gorel, Anaïs  ;  Laboratory of Plant Ecology, Department of Plants and Crops, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering Ghent University Ghent Belgium
Silva de Miranda, Pedro Luiz ;  Gembloux Agro‐Bio Tech‐University of Liège Gembloux Belgium
Lhoest, Simon  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > Département GxABT > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels ; Center for Biodiversity Outcomes Arizona State University Tempe Arizona USA
Fayolle, Adeline  ;  Université de Liège - ULiège > TERRA Research Centre > Gestion des ressources forestières et des milieux naturels
Language :
English
Title :
Biogeography of central African forests: Determinants, ongoing threats and conservation priorities of mammal assemblages
Alternative titles :
[fr] Biogéographie des forêts d'Afrique centrale : Déterminants, menaces et priorités de conservation des assemblages de mammifères
Publication date :
28 March 2023
Journal title :
Diversity and Distributions
ISSN :
1366-9516
eISSN :
1472-4642
Publisher :
Wiley
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Development Goals :
15. Life on land
Name of the research project :
PPECF - Programme de Promotion de l'Exploitation Certifiée des Forêts
Funders :
BAEF - Belgian American Educational Foundation [BE]
FRIA - Fonds pour la Formation à la Recherche dans l'Industrie et dans l'Agriculture [BE]
UGent - Ghent University [BE]
ULiège - University of Liège [BE]
Funding number :
BOF postdoctoral fellowship of Ghent University (BOF20/PDO/003); IPD- STEMA
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