As demand for African timber soars, birds pay the ultimate price

Tropical forests are home to more of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity than any other habitat, but are increasingly threatened by the impact of human activities. Illegal logging, in particular, poses a severe and increasing threat to tropical forests worldwide. But, until now, its impact on tropical wildlife has not been quantified.

A new study co-authored by scientists at Drexel University, published in the most recent issue of Biological Conservation, reveals the devastating impact of illegal logging on bird communities in the understory layer of Ghana’s Upper Guinea rain forests, one of the world’s 25 “biodiversity hotspots” where the most biologically rich ecosystems are most threatened.

Researchers found that the level of legal and illegal logging increased more than 600 percent between 1995 and 2010 — six times greater than the maximum sustainable rate. They also discovered that the abundance of forest understory bird species declined more than 50 percent during the same period. Species richness, or the number of different understory bird species represented, also showed declining trends. The bird communities showed no evidence of post-logging recovery.

“The numbers don’t lie and they don’t have a political agenda. These numbers are shocking,” said . . . .   More at:  www.sciencedaily.com

GR:  Logging has to stop, but how do we do it?  We need massive social changes right now if our wildlife are to survive.

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