Fates of trees damaged by logging in Amazonian Bolivia Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Estimation of carbon losses from trees felled and incidentally-killed during selective logging of tropical forests is relatively straightforward and well-documented, but less is known about the fates of collaterally-damaged trees that initially survive. Tree response to logging damage is an important and overlooked ecological process potentially affecting 2–5% of all extant tropical trees. Here we report on the fates of damaged trees over the first 8-years after logging in a transitional Amazonian forest in Eastern Bolivia. Mortality rates of damaged trees peaked in the first year after logging, and then slowly declined to background rates by the end of the study, indicating that if a damaged tree survives 8years, it then runs approximately the same annual mortality risk as an undamaged tree. Of all types of logging damage, crown damage reduced growth rates the most while inclined trees suffered the highest mortality rates. Neither wood density nor tree size conferred tolerance to damage, though species with bark exudates were less tolerant of damage. Surprisingly, damaged trees survived droughts better than undamaged trees, perhaps due to their proximity to felling gaps and concomitant reduced above- and below-ground competition or due to their reduced leaf areas and associated reductions in water stress. While this study only tests one interaction between an aspect of climate change and logging, we found a positive signal for forest resilience. This response should be considered amongst others in models of managed forests in climate change scenarios.


  • Shenkin, Alexander
  • Bolker, Benjamin
  • Peña-Claros, Marielos
  • Licona, Juan Carlos
  • Putz, Francis E

publication date

  • December 2015