This digital document is a journal article from Forest Ecology and Management, published by Elsevier in 2006. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Media Library immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.
Reduced-impact logging is a type of selective logging that incorporates a variety of techniques aimed at lowering levels of damage to the residual stand. In a Bolivian subtropical humid forest we studied differences in gap size, vegetation structure, regeneration and phenology between anthropogenic and natural gaps in a reduced-impact logged and unlogged forest. Harvesting took place between 1 and 4 years previously. Logging gaps were significantly larger than natural gaps (d.f. 1, variance ratio (vr.) 6.38, p=0.014) and had significantly lower coverage of lianas (d.f. 1, vr. 8.64, p<0.01). Seedlings were more prevalent in logging gaps than in natural tree-fall gaps (d.f. 1, vr. 13.97, p<0.001), as were members of the herbaceous genus Heliconia (d.f. 4, vr. 3.05, p=0.023). In larger gaps microclimatic conditions favour the regeneration of non-commercial pioneer species. We propose that ground disturbance during bole removal causes higher rates of mortality to shade-tolerant species in advanced stages of regeneration. This removes the competitive height advantage needed by shade-tolerant species to compete within gaps, and thus further promotes the opportunity for pioneer species to dominate gap regeneration. These observed differences between anthropogenic and natural tree-fall gaps are of direct importance to forest managers attempting to understand how disturbance associated with reduced-impact logging influences the regeneration of commercial tree species in Bolivian forestry concessions. We discuss the ecological and silvicultural implications of these results.