Recovery after 25 years of the tree and palms species diversity on a selectively logged forest in a Venezuelan lowland ecosystem

José R. Lozada, Ernesto Arends, Domingo Sánchez, Alberto Villarreal, José Guevara, Pilar Soriano, Manuel Costa


Aim of study: We evaluate palm and tree species diversity in a floodplain forest and the changes affecting the plots subjected to different intensities of selective logging.

Area of study: The western alluvial plains of Venezuela.

Materials and Methods: A randomized complete blocks design was established 25 years ago with three felling treatments (trees with diameter greater than 20 cm, 40 cm and 60 cm). Each treatment had three replications, using 1 ha permanent plots. We have measured all trees and palms bigger than over 10 cm in diameter. The data set was used to calculate the Importance Value Index of each species, the Shannon-Wiener index, the Hill Numbers and the Chao-Sørensen index.

Main results: Disturbance increases the importance value index of pioneer species like Cecropia peltata, Ochroma pyramidale and Triplaris americana. All treatments produce changes on the floristic diversity but most of them are not significant. Only the high impact treatment causes a decrease in the species richness, but after 5 year of recovery this parameter is close to its previous levels (N0= 43.5). In logged forests, species loss (9.2%) is lower than in the control plots (11.7%) and is also lower than the rate of occurrence of species input (14.6%).

Research highlights: In these logged forests restoration of diversity is acceptable because is higher than 91% (Chao-Sørensen index). Selective logging, with low and medium intensity, is a disturbance that works in a similar way to natural disturbances. All the diversity indexes recovered the pre-harvest level values.

Keywords: Caparo - Venezuela; ecological restoration; forest dynamics; forest management; forest succession; Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis; permanent plots.


Caparo - Venezuela; ecological restoration; forest dynamics; forest management; forest succession; Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis; permanent plots.

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