African Rain Forest Ecology and Conservation: An Interdisciplinary Perspective

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Extending from west Africa to Madagascar, from the vast lowland Congo Basin to the archipelago of forest islands on its eastern rim, the African rain forest is surpassed in size only by the Amazon. This book sheds light on the current efforts to understand and conserve the African rain forest, an area in need of urgent action to save its biological wealth, cultural heritage, and economic potential.

Written by conservation scientists and practitioners based in the African rain forest, the book offers a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates many biological and social sciences. Early chapters trace the forces-from paleoecological factors to recent human actions-that have shaped the African forest environment. The next chapters discuss the dominant biological patterns of species ranging from the distinctive elephants, gorillas, and okapi to the less well known birds, butterflies, and amphibians. Other chapters focus on how such different groups as hunter-gatherers, forest farmers, bushmeat hunters, recent immigrants, and commercial foresters have used the forests. Several authors stress the need for tighter links between research and conservation action. The final section draws lessons from the collective experience of those working in an Africa wracked by political strife and economic hardship.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathryn Saterson
This book contains a great deal of new and valuable information on the biology, human use, and conservation of African rain forests.
Forty-three international conservationists in and outside academia contribute 37 essays about the African climate, vegetation, and humanity; past and present trends in the African rainforest; the forest ecosystem; human interaction with the forest; and applied research and management. Specific essays address the impact of arid phases on the rainforest, endemism in rainforest mammals, deforestation in Central Africa, carnivore biogeography, the Aka people of the Central African Republic, designing a new national park in Madagascar, forest conservation in Ghana, and farmers, wildlife and the forest. This is an important anthology for reference and the classroom. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300084337
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2001
  • Pages: 608
  • Product dimensions: 7.42 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.49 (d)

Table of Contents

Pt. I The African Context
1 The African Rain Forest: Climate and Vegetation 3
2 Human Dimensions of the African Rain Forest 30
Pt. II Past and Present Tends in the African Rain Forest
Overview of Part II 47
3 A Geological Perspective on the Conservation of African Forests 50
4 Hotspots in African Forests as Quaternary Refugia 57
5 The Impact of Arid Phases on the African Rain Forest Through Geological History 68
6 Endemism in African Rain Forest Mammals 88
7 The History of Human Settlement in the Middle Ogooue Valley (Gabon): Implications for the Environment 101
8 Forest Area and Deforestation in Central Africa: Current Knowledge and Future Directions 119
9 Climatic Change and African Rain Forests in the Twenty-First Century 140
Pt. III The Forest Ecosystem
Overview of Part III 151
10 Forest Dynamics in the Ituri Basin (DR Congo): Dominance, Diversity, and Conservation 154
11 Forest-Savanna Dynamics and the Origins of Marantaceae Forest in Central Gabon 165
12 Diversity and Abundance in an African Forest Ungulate Community and Implications for Conservation 183
13 Forest Elephant Behavior and Ecology: Observations from the Dzanga Saline 207
14 Carnivore Biogeography and Conservation in the African Forest: A Community Perspective 214
15 African Forest Birds: Patterns of Endemism and Species Richness 233
16 Fishes of African Rain Forests: Diverse Adaptations to Environmental Challenges 263
17 Herpetofauna of the African Rain Forest: Overview and Recommendations for Conservation 291
Pt. IV Humans and the Forest
Overview of Part IV 311
18 Conservation, Development, and "the Forest People": The Aka of the Central African Republic 313
19 Horticulture and Hunting in the Congo Basin: A Case from Central Africa (DR Congo) 334
20 Hunting and Wildlife in Northeastern Gabon: Why Conservation Should Extend Beyond Protected Areas 344
21 Conservation - For Whom? A Study of Immigration onto DR Congo's Ituri Forest Frontier 355
22 Farmers, Wildlife, and the Forest Fringe 369
23 Indigenous Versus Introduced Biodiversity Conservation Strategies: The Case of Protected Area Systems in Ghana 385
Pt. V Applied Research and Management
Overview of Part V 397
24 Designing a New National Park in Madagascar: The Use of Biodiversity Data 400
25 Gorilla Conservation and Research in Central Africa: A Diversity of Approaches and Problems 429
26 Why Chimpanzees and Gorillas Respond Differently to Logging: A Cautionary Tale from Gabon 449
27 The Effects of Habitat Change Due to Selective Logging on the Fauna of Forests in Africa 463
28 Lost Logging: Problems of Tree Regeneration in Forest Gaps in Kibale Forest, Uganda 480
29 Forest Conservation in Ghana: Forestry, Dragons, Genetic Heat 491
30 Integrating Local Communities into the Management of Protected Areas: Lessons from DR Congo and Cameroon 513
31 Politics, Negotiation, and Conservation: A View from Madagascar 535
Pt. VI Conclusion
32 Trends and Challenges in Applied Research and Conservation: A Practitioner's View from the African Rain Forest 547
Epilogue: Conflict and Conservation in the African Rain Forest 557
List of Contributors 563
Index 567
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