Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 409245
Title The impact of civil war on forest wildlife in West Africa: Mammals in Gola Forest, Sierra Leone
Author(s) Lindsell, J.A.; Klop, E.; Siaka, A.M.
Source Oryx 45 (2011)1. - ISSN 0030-6053 - p. 69 - 77.
Department(s) Resource Ecology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) primates - biodiversity - densities - habitats - conflict - reserves - transect - congo
Abstract Human conflicts may sometimes benefit wildlife by depopulating wilderness areas but there is evidence from Africa that the impacts tend to be negative. The forested states of West Africa have experienced much recent human conflict but there have been no assessments of impacts on the wildlife. We conducted surveys of mammals in the 710-km2 Gola Forest reserves to assess the impact of the 1991-2001 civil war in Sierra Leone. Gola is the most important remaining tract of lowland forest in the country and a key site for the conservation of the highly threatened forests of the Upper Guinea region. We found that Gola has survived well despite being in the heart of the area occupied by the rebels. We recorded 44 species of larger mammal, including 18 threatened, near-threatened and endemic species, accounting for all species recorded in pre-war surveys and adding several more (African buffalo Syncerus caffer nanus and water chevrotain Hyemoschus aquaticus). Populations of primates were healthy with little evidence of decline. Duiker detection rates were low and further work is required to confirm their numbers as they include five species endemic (or near endemic) to the Upper Guinea region, three of which are threatened. However, the population of African forest elephants Loxodonta cyclotis has collapsed, with only a few individuals remaining from c. 110 in the mid 1980s. We conclude that peacetime pressures from the bushmeat trade, clearance for agriculture, logging and mining are likely to be far greater for Gola than the pressures from the civil war.
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