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Scientifically based biodiversity management in timber concessions: contribution to conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity

Bayol N., Chevalier J.F., Doumenge C., Gourlet S., Pasquier A.. 2016. In : Plinio Sist (ed.), Stéphanie Carrière (ed.), Pia Parolin (ed.), Pierre-Michel Forget (ed.). Tropical ecology and society reconciliating conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Program and abstracts. Storrs : ATBC, p. 134. Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC 2016), 2016-06-19/2016-06-23, Montpellier (France).

During the past 25 years, forest laws in Central African countries have undergone major changes. Management plans were made mandatory: nearly 19 million hectares of timber concessions (38% of total granted concessions) were subject to a management plan in 2013 and the dynamics is currently underway. The management plan is based on a set of technical and scientific studies, including statistical surveys (management inventories) covering the whole concession and taking into account all timber species, large mammals and the main non timber forest products. These inventories allow, at concession level, to characterize ecosystems and to assess the forest conservation values, through floristic and faunal biodiversity indicators and by taking into account threats to the forest ecosystems, especially anthropogenic ones. Such management inventories are used especially for planning and forecasting harvests, while minimising environmental impacts on the forest structure and functioning, and retaining regeneration capacities of the timber species and the forest ecosystems. The knowledge gained on specific and ecosystemic biodiversity helps to define management rules to ensure the sustainability of different timber species' populations, noticeably the exploited ones. It is also used to design areas within the concessions were exploitation will not take place due to conservation interest (most biodiversity-rich areas, protection of rare or endangered species...). Such so-called ¿conservation series¿ therefore complement the protected areas network. Well-managed forest concessions can help conserve the regional forest ecosystems and maintain essential functions that they provide. However, management plans were up to now designed at the concession scale. Data acquired in forest concessions also significantly contribute to improve knowledge of the forest ecosystems and their functioning at the regional level. Using this data, the CoForChange Project (http://www.coforchange.eu) issued a map of the forest ecosystems developed in the "Sangha River Interval" region. This project suggested that those forest ecosystems could react differently to disturbance, and could need an adaptation of management methods to each ecosystem. Based on forest inventories, other initiatives are underway to map the forest types and the biomass stock at the scale of Central Africa, and might be of particular interest for policy decisions on forest ecosystems. (Texte intégral)

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