Logging and Hunting: Biodiversity persists under sustainable forest management and indigenous hunting practices
Tropical forests are characterized by high species richness, with large ground-dwelling mammalian species that occupy large home ranges at low densities. Protected areas alone are insufficient to adequately protect a majority of these species. Managed forests could supplement the conservation estate for biodiversity conservation, as pre-logging forest structure and canopy closure is maintained by the spatially defused method of selective logging. In this study we assess the impact of sustainable forest management practices (FSC certification) on large and medium size terrestrial vertebrates in association with auxiliary policies that restrict non-indigenous hunting, involve local communities in forest management, and legislative tools that prevent forest conversion and fragmentation by colonizers in an Eastern Amazonian forest. We employ a multi-species hierarchical occupancy model to account for imperfect detection of species from a camera trap study fused with spatially explicit indigenous hunting records in a Bayesian framework to partition the effect of logging verses hunting on species occurrence.
Characteristic of the low productivity of Guiana Shield forests, detection probabilities for all species was low (0.025), with logging having a positive effect on the probability of occupancy (11.446; 95% confidence interval) and hunting by indigenous peoples having no effect. We demonstrate that enforcement of policies that control hunting, and where best logging practices are adhered to function to maintain functional species community in a landscape where traditional hunting practices persists. The effectiveness of managed forests to contribute to conservation of biodiversity hinges on the enforcement of auxillary policies that restrict secondary degradation through uncontrolled hunting and forest fragmentation.