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Human influences on the tropical forest wildlife

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Hunting.
    1. Estimates of wild meat harvest.
    2. Subsistence hunting.
    3. Overhunting.
    4. Aggravating effects.
  3. Selective logging.
    1. Patterns of adaptation.
    2. Effect of logging method.
  4. Forest wildfires.
  5. Fire-induced mortality.
  6. Post-burn survival.
  7. Conclusion.

Different patterns of anthropogenic forest disturbance can affect forest wildlife in both tropical and temperate regions in many ways. The overall impact of different sources of structural and nonstructural disturbance may depend on: (1) the groups of organisms considered; (2) the evolutionary history of analogous forms of natural disturbance; and (3) whether forest ecosystems are left to recover over sufficiently long intervals following a disturbance event. The wide range of human-induced disturbance events are widely variable in intensity, duration and periodicity and are often mediated by numerous economic activities including timber and non-timber resource extraction, other causes of forest degradation, forest fragmentation, and forest conversion to other forms of land use. Examples of human enterprises that can severely affect wildlife may include hunting, selective logging at varying degrees of intensity, slash-and-burn agriculture, plantation forestry, selective removal of the understory to produce shade-tolerant crops, and outright deforestation for large-scale livestock operations. The resulting faunal assemblages can be drastically dis?gured in highly modi?ed forest landscapes compared to those in truly undisturbed forest lands containing a full complement of plant and animal species, which are being rapidly con?ned to the best-guarded strictly protected areas or the remote, roadless wildlands in the last remaining pristine forests.

[...] Management of the logging methods can substantially reduce their impact on forest structure (actually increasing long-term yields), whilst careful planning of unlogged refugia and corridors may ensure the survival and recolonization of disturbance-sensitive species. Despite these mitigation measures, timber production cannot be seen as a panacea to the problems of forest wildlife conservation in the tropics. Reduced impact methods are rarely used, and still account for a very small proportion of the logging concessions in the tropics. Furthermore, very little data exist on the effects of repeated timber harvests at variable intervals, a necessary component if production forests are to remain economically viable. [...]


[...] Studies also differ depending on whether they examined tree fall gaps, or the entire logged forest matrix, in the latter case capturing many disturbance-intolerant species that are able to persist in unlogged refugia. Thirdly, some of the differences may be explained by geographic and historical factors. Production forests occur through- out the tropics, capturing many faunas that are unlikely to be equally adapted to disturbance. In the neotropics alone, logging appears to have greater impacts on the Amazonian avifauna than that in the Atlantic forest or in Belize, a difference that can be attributed to the more intensive history of natural disturbance events in those areas. [...]


[...] Because of their recent historical rarity, very few studies have documented the effects of accidental ?res on forest wildlife; the following is based on information from a small number of studies conducted in Amazonia and Southeast Asia, and outlines the effects of ?res in their immediate aftermath, up to 1 month, and 1 to 3 years thereafter. Fire-Induced Mortality Reports of the initial ?re-induced mortality appear to be inconclusive. In Sumatra, the lack of animal carcasses following the ?re was taken as evidence that most birds and mammals were able to escape the ?re. [...]

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