Logged Forests Can Be Habitat for Endangered Mammals
New research reveals that logged forests still play a vital role in conserving mammal diversity.
In a detailed study conducted by Imperial College London, researchers have identified previously logged forests as an overlooked source of refuge for mammals in Borneo.
In addition, lead researcher Dr Oliver Wearn, stressed that logged forests can act as habitats to save endangered mammals.
“Where old growth forests remain, however, these are still the best habitats for mammals and other native species, and should be the absolute top priority for conservation.”
Degraded Forests Should Be Protected
Habitat loss endangers mammal diversity. But ecologists are looking for possible solutions to counter this problem and to save mammals from extinction. The new research points to the importance of logged and degraded forests as sources of refuge for mammals.
In the case in Borneo, ‘selectively logged’ forests, where only certain tree species are removed, are often considered to be degraded and are cleared to make way for plantations. The research underlined that these logged forests should be protected.
Mammal Diversity Remains High in Logged Forests
The study was conducted by recording mammals using trap-and-release techniques and motion-sensing cameras. The intensive study came up with an unprecedented 20,000 records of species in three land-use types: old-growth forest, logged forest and oil palm plantations.
After three years of the study, the researchers gathered surprising results. One of the startling discoveries is that mammal diversity is evident for large mammals, like the clouded leopard and civets in both old-growth forests and logged forests.
In addition, diversity was higher in logged forests for small mammals, such as squirrels and rodents.
However, both sizes of mammals suffered heavy losses of diversity in oil palm plantations.
The research ruled out that mammal diversity remains high in logged forests because of the way habitats are distributed.