Does rainforest logging threaten marine turtles?

Laurance, William F., Fay, J. Michael, Parnell, Richard J., Sounguet, Guy-Philippe, Formia, Angela, and Lee, Michelle E. (2008) Does rainforest logging threaten marine turtles? Oryx, 42 (2). pp. 246-251.

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Abstract

Industrial logging is expanding rapidly in Central African rainforests. We suggest that logging operations in this region pose an indirect threat to nesting marine turtles, especially the Critically Endangered leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea. This occurs because some logs are being lost or abandoned during downriver transport to coastal timber yards; the lost logs float out to sea and then often wash ashore, where they accumulate on beaches used by nesting turtles. We used a light aircraft to survey logs along the entire coastline of Gabon, and also studied the impacts of logs at Pongara Beach, one of the world's most important turtle nesting areas, during the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 breeding seasons. Nearly 11,000 lost logs were counted along Gabon's beaches, with an estimated commercial value of USD 11.1 million. Logs were unevenly distributed along the coast, reaching a peak density of 247 logs km-1. At Pongara, logs blocked 30.5% of the beach. These logs had a number of negative effects on marine turtles, causing 8-14% of all nesting attempts (n = 2,163) to be aborted or disrupted. Initiatives to remove lost logs and driftwood from critical nesting beaches may be the most effective means to reduce their deleterious impacts on threatened marine turtles.

Item ID: 26728
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-3008
Keywords: Africa, beaches, Dermochelys coriacea, Gabon, leatherback, logging, marine turtle, nesting, rainforest
Additional Information:

This is publication number 90 in the Smithsonian Monitoring and Biodiversity Program series.

Funders: Wildlife Conservation Society, Smithsonian Institution (SI)
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2013 11:04
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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