Effects of logging on loss of fauna from Costa Rican forests

Many studies have examined the effects of selective logging on animal populations. In Costa Rica, the effects of faunal loss on the dispersal, predation, and survival of seeds and seedlings were recently studied in two selectively logged forests with differing levels of protection (Guariguata et al. 2000). La Selva Biological Station, owned and operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS), is protected from hunting and connected to a national park, whereas the Tirimbina forest is unprotected and not connected to a park. Seed dispersal rates by mammals were highest in the protected site. Seed survival was also higher at La Selva. The low rate of seed dispersal and survival at Tirimbina is probably related to altered mammal community composition as a result of hunting pressure and loss of habitat connectivity (Table 5.3).

Even if forests are logged with minimal stand and soil disturbance, sustained recruitment of mammal-dispersed timber species appears less likely if loss of habitat connectivity and excessive hunting pressure are combined. Production forests adjacent to parks and conservation areas may be more likely to maintain a wider spectrum of viable populations of plants and animals than forests in which logging is permitted throughout.

As seen in Section 5.4.1, ITTO standards also include biodiversity, although there is no specific mention of management practices that consider faunal diversity. Likewise, conservation of wildlife is not specifically included in the Forest Stewardship Council Principles and Criteria for SFM. The concept of eco-agriculture, or managing for diversity as well as for production (McNeely and Scherr 2003), could be extended to forestry with the term eco-forestry, meaning managing forests for biodiversity as well as for production. In such cases, consideration should be taken of the total biodiversity of the forest, including wildlife. This may lead to increases in the costs of managing and monitoring, but may be essential for the long-term survival of forest ecosystem functions.

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