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

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"A unique book that is likely to become a benchmark for those who wish to save the rain forests through sustainable logging practices. Its uniqueness lies in the author's collection of long-term data (up to 25 years) on both plants and animals in the same site, the Kibale forest in Uganda. . . . Very highly recommended for libraries specializing in ecology, environmental science, forestry, and rain forests."—Choice
 
"A much-needed volume that will be of interest to a wide audience, written by a leader in the field, and one with an international reputation. The current rosy advocacy for 'sustainable development' needs a wake-up call, and this is it. This volume combines some of the hottest topics in conservation science today into a cohesive whole that looks clear-eyed into the face of modern conservation in the tropics and finds it frighteningly lacking in scientific underpinning, rational consideration, and effective implementation."--Truman Young, University of California at Davis
 
Thomas 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.
Although much has been claimed for the possibilities of sustainable logging in tropical rain forests, few data support these claims.  Struhsaker demonstrates that future logging must be done at far lower intensities than is currently practiced if intact ecosystems are to be maintained.  He also offers detailed recommendations for harvest plans compatible with the conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity.
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 offers specific recommendations to address the problems.
 
Thomas T. Struhsaker has conducted field research in Africa over a period of 34 years.  From 1970 through 1987 he established, developed, and directed the field research station in Kibale, Uganda.  He maintains an active role in Kibale today and is a research scientist in the Department of Biological Anthropology and Anatomy at Duke University.  His publications include The Red Colobus Monkey (1975) and more than 80 scientific and popular articles and technical reports on ecology, conservation, and animal behavior.

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