Reductions in primate abundance and diversity in a multiuse protected area: synergistic impacts of hunting and logging in a congo basin forest

Am J Primatol. 2012 Jul;74(7):602-12. doi: 10.1002/ajp.22012.


This article explores spatial and temporal changes in diurnal primate abundance and behavior in response to hunting, logging, and conservation at the Dzanga Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic over time. We use a combination of line-transect surveys in 2002 and 2009 (N = 540 km) and ethnographic interviews (N = 210) to investigate changes in the status of cercopithecines and colobines at RDS, with additional comparisons to earlier work. This protected area was lightly logged in the 1970s and the park was gazetted in 1990, with multiple-use reserve sectors allocated. Since the park's inception, hunting and the trade of primates have increased, along with human migration, greater accessibility of arms, and reduction of preferred ungulate prey. Primates have declined in both the park and reserve sectors. Our data further suggest that at RDS hunting has had a greater impact on primate diversity and abundance than logging. We have identified changes in species-specific vulnerability to hunting over time, with Cercopithecus nictitans and Lophocebus albigena initially having appeared to be relatively resistant to hunting pressure in 2002. However, subsequently as gun hunting has increased at RDS, these species have become vulnerable. Although monkeys at RDS have been responding behaviorally to increased gun hunting, they are not able to keep pace with changing hunting practices. This study allows us to begin to understand synergistic impacts of hunting and logging, necessary if we are to recommend strategies to better secure the future of primates in multiuse protected areas.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Central
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal*
  • Central African Republic
  • Cercopithecus*
  • Colobinae*
  • Congo
  • Conservation of Natural Resources*
  • Environment
  • Female
  • Firearms
  • Male
  • Population Density
  • Trees*