Forest damage caused by selection logging of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in northern Belize

  • Forest damage caused by selection logging of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in northern Belize

by Andrew A. Whitman, Nicholas V.L. Brokaw, John M. Hagan 

 

 

Abstract 

We assessed the damage caused by selection logging of mahogany in a tropical forest in northern Belize and compared it with damage reported in other Neotropical logging and disturbance studies. We mapped skid roads and tree felling sites, and assessed soil compaction, loss of canopy cover, damage to saplings and trees, seedling survival and seedling height growth. Logging had been conducted using hand crews with chain saws and cable skidders. Logging directly affected 11.9 ha (12.9%) of the 92.3 ha logging area. Canopy cover decreased the most at logging gaps, and soils were most compacted on skid roads. Soil compaction was much greater on roads where more than one tree had been skidded. For the whole logged area, canopy cover declined 2% and compacted soils covered 3.8% of the area. Seedling height growth was unaffected by soil compaction, but seedling survival was less on compacted sites. About 50% of the trees and about 15% of the saplings were damaged in gaps and along skid roads. However, only 4.8% of the trees and 1.9% of the saplings were damaged for the logged area as a whole. The most common kinds of damage included scraped bark, snapped tops, and run-over stems. Although this logging operation had relatively low impacts compared with other logging operations in the Neotropics, it may not be silviculturally sustainable because its disturbance may be insufficient to promote adequate mahogany regeneration.

 

 

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Keywords:  Canopy openness; Soil compaction; Tree damage; Seedling growth Disturbance; Neotropical  forest

 

 

Suggested APA reference: Whitman, Andrew & Brokaw, Nicholas & Hagan, John. (1997). Forest damage caused by selection logging of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) in northern Belize. Forest Ecology and Management. 92. 87-96. 10.1016/S0378-1127(96)03941-2.

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