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mammals thrive better in logged forests with the FSC quality label

by News Room
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Critically endangered forest elephant

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The FSC quality mark for wood products is good news for gorillas, forest elephants and leopards. Logged forests with such an FSC certificate have more mammals than forests without such a certificate. Such a quality mark is in products that come from forests where good natural diversity is of paramount importance. These forests then receive a certificate.

Researcher Joeri Zwerts from the University of Utrecht came to the conclusion about the FSC quality label after a study carried out in the forests of Central Africa. The results have been published in the scientific journal Nature.

It sounds contradictory: more animals in forests where wood is cut down. But according to Zwerts, it makes sense: one of the main causes of biodiversity loss is poaching. And in forests with the FSC quality mark, poaching is prevented as far as possible.

  • George Zwerts

    The moose looks at the camera
  • Joey Zwerts

    Roar captured on camera
  • Joey Zwerts

    Buffalo in the forest
  • Joey Zwerts

    One of the cameras around the tree
  • George Zwerts

    A gorilla walks past the camera

For research, Zwerts went to the forests of Congo and Gabon in Central Africa. He hung out there, among other things cameras in trees. During three months, these special cameras recorded 1.3 million images of biodiversity in forests with and without the FSC quality label. He did research at the initiative of the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Wildlife Conservation Society, but worked independently.

Zwerts explains how he installed the cameras:

Mammals survive better in forests with the FSC quality mark

The study mainly looked at larger mammals weighing more than 10 kilograms, because larger animals are generally more vulnerable to hunting. For example, the African golden cat and antelope became more common 3.5 times captured on camera. For leopards and chimpanzees, this was 2.5 times.

Critically endangered species such as the forest elephant were also photographed more frequently. This is beneficial for biodiversity, as larger mammals also ensure greater seed dispersal. It is good for the reproduction of the forest.

According to Zwerts, the results are important for the future of tropical forests. “These results show that certification plays an important role in conserving biodiversity in the tropics. Responsible logging can contribute to its conservation.”

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