Selective logging: does the imprint remain on tree structure and composition after 45 years?

Oyomoare L. Osazuwa-Peters*, Colin A. Chapman, Amy E. Zanne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Selective logging of tropical forests is increasing in extent and intensity. The duration over which impacts of selective logging persist, however, remains an unresolved question, particularly for African forests. Here, we investigate the extent to which a past selective logging event continues to leave its imprint on different components of an East African forest 45 years later. We inventoried 2358 stems ≥10 cm in diameter in 26 plots (200 m × 10 m) within a 5.2 ha area in Kibale National Park, Uganda, in logged and unlogged forest. In these surveys, we characterized the forest light environment, taxonomic composition, functional trait composition using three traits (wood density, maximum height and maximum diameter) and forest structure based on three measures (stem density, total basal area and total above-ground biomass). In comparison to unlogged forests, selectively logged forest plots in Kibale National Park on average had higher light levels, different structure characterized by lower stem density, lower total basal area and lower above-ground biomass, and a distinct taxonomic composition driven primarily by changes in the relative abundance of species. Conversely, selectively logged forest plots were like unlogged plots in functional composition, having similar community-weighted mean values for wood density, maximum height and maximum diameter. This similarity in functional composition irrespective of logging history may be due to functional recovery of logged forest or background changes in functional attributes of unlogged forest. Despite the passage of 45 years, the legacy of selective logging on the tree community in Kibale National Park is still evident, as indicated by distinct taxonomic and structural composition and reduced carbon storage in logged forest compared with unlogged forest. The effects of selective logging are exerted via influences on tree demography rather than functional trait composition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbercov012
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalConservation Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2015. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Functional traits
  • Historical logging event
  • Kibale National Park
  • Light intensity
  • Wood density


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