Lianas and logging in West Africa

Parren, M.P.E. (2003). PhD thesis, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. ISBN 90-5113-066-X; 168 pp. with summaries in English, Dutch and French. Tropenbos-Cameroon Series no. 6, Tropenbos International, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

The role of lianas in relation to logging activities is analysed in a lowland moist forest in Cameroon. Lianas are an abundant, diverse, and conspicuous growth form in nearly all tropical forests. Lianas are mostly seen as a nuisance by foresters. Cutting of liana stems is an important operation in forest management practices. Pre-harvest liana cutting is aimed at a reduction of logging damage, an improved precision of felling, an enhancement of the development of the growing tree stock and a reduction of the regrowth capacity of lianas. Lianas were very abundant: on average nearly 5000 individuals per ha of which over 100 large ones (³ 5 cm dbh). Felling gap sizes, tree mortality and damage were not significantly affected by pre-harvest liana cutting. However, this intervention significantly reduced the number of lianas and also the number of liana-infested trees in logging gaps. Cut lianas were monitored and proved that certain species were extremely vulnerable while others hardly. To avoid problems related to the negative impacts that both liana cutting and fire can have on liana species, which are vulnerable to these interventions, it is recommended to apply this treatment only selectively. Spatially, treatments should be limited to zones where lianas are heavily interfering with trees to be felled. Treatments also should be species-specific, by limiting liana cutting to those species, which cause most of the damage.I

Key-words: West Africa, silvicultural treatments, logging damage, lianas, climber cutting, lowland rain forest.

Marc Parren graduated October 8, 2003.


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