Forest regeneration after logging: a case study in a moist semi-deciduous forest in Ghana

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The effect of different intensities of logging on some properties of forest soils, emergence and growth of forest tree seedlings and proliferation of weeds in logging gaps was studied in four disturbance categories; loading bays, tree-fall gaps, primary skid trails and secondary skid trails with forest understorey as control in Bobiri Forest Reserve. Loading bays and primary skid trails were morn compacted than the other sites. However, compaction did not affect the growth f measured seedlings. The dry bulk density did not differ significantly between sites. Wet and dry season matric potentials were not statistically different between sites. There was prolific seedling emergence in all the sites in the first few months following logging but declined considerably after S months. Seedling numbers increased with reducing gap size with loading bays recording the lowest seedling population and the secondary skid trails recording the highest Pioneer species were relatively abundant in loading bays than all the ecological species guilds while the non-pioneers showed preference for smaller gaps. For example Ceiba pentandra (pioneer) was the only species that survived in the loading bays for the 27-month period of the study but could not survive in the forest shade. Relative growth rate in diameter and height for Ceiba pentandra seedlings were significantly higher in the loading bays than all the other sites. Species diversity increased with decreasing gap size from the loading bays to secondary skid trails. Weed biomass increased with increasing size of gaps. Logging enhances tree seedling regeneration but has important consequences on the commercial value of the tropical rain forest.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Science, 1999