A logging path cut through the African rainforest

Evaluating Logging Impacts

A wild gorilla hanging from a tree

Purpose

Zoo scientists are studying sustainable logging and certification in the Goualougo Triangle to try to build a blueprint to protect apes throughout Africa.

About

The Goualougo Triangle is protected parkland, but neighboring areas are open to development. Zoo scientists are studying sustainable logging and certification in the region to try to build a blueprint to protect apes throughout Africa.

As researchers monitor the apes of the Goualougo Triangle to learn more about their behavior, they’re also collecting data about the impact of certified logging and other associated anthropogenic disturbances on chimpanzee and gorilla populations, as well as their resource needs. The Goualougo Triangle is part of Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park, but the forests monitored around the area are multi-use forests primarily allocated for timber exploitation.

By monitoring the distribution of at-risk chimpanzee and gorilla populations before, during, and after logging, the researchers are gathering information to improve Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)–certified logging practices. This research is paired with botanical surveys that provide quantitative evidence of changes in tree diversity, structure, and carbon sequestration potential. Additional studies focus on the impact of road development in intact forest landscapes and associated illegal hunting pressure.

Staff

Dave Morgan, Ph.D.
Research Fellow, Co-Director of the Goualougo Triangle Ape Project
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes
Crickette Sanz, Ph.D.
Adjunct Scientist
Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes

Collaborators

Over the last 10 years, Wen Mayoukou has led GTAP’s studies on the impact of logging. The GTAP study area features six study zones, two of which have recently been exploited for timber. Mayoukou and his teams resurvey transects, counting all chimpanzee and gorilla nests in an effort to obtain density estimates for both species. They also record signs of elephant and human activity. Findings are used to inform the local logging company of its environmental impacts on these certified forests.