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Selective logging reduces biodiversity, disrupts Amazon ecosystems: study

22 / 12 / 2017, Mongabaycom News

Coprophanaeus lancifer, the largest crepuscular tunnelling dung beetle species found in the Amazon study region. Photographed in the Brazilian Amazon, 2016. Photo by Filipe França Reduced-impact-logging techniques are now used globally. This forestry approach, also called selective logging, aims to preserve biodiversity and maintain forest ecosystem functions while extracting commercially valuable timber. However, new research shows that even low-levels of timber extraction can have a detrimental effect on biodiversity that includes impacts on important ecosystem engineers such as dung beetles. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) became popular in the 1990s because it promised to provide timber without the ecologically devastating effects of clear-cutting. There are no published estimates of the global scale of RIL schemes, but a Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) report in 2015 found that more than 2.1 billion hectares (8.1 million square miles) of forest is under a forest management plan, and 438 million hectares (1.7 million square miles) are internationally certified. Meanwhile, evidence has been mounting over the last decade that selective logging may not be the win-win scenario it was once thought to be. Tree being logged by a worker within the Brazilian timber concession where the study was conducted. Photo by Filipe França Low level logging impacts dung beetles In a study published online in Biological Conservation in October, an international research team compared the species richness of dung beetles and their effectiveness at removing dung, both before and after selective logging, at thirty-four sites in the Amazonian Jari Florestal logging concession…

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