Seeing Central African forests through their largest trees

Bastin Jean-François, Barbier Nicolas, Rejou-Mechain Maxime, Fayolle Adeline, Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, Maniatis Danae, De Haulleville Thales, Baya Fidèle, Beeckman Hans, Beina Denis, Couteron Pierre, Chuyong George B., Dauby Gilles, Doucet Jean-Louis, Droissart Vincent, Dufrêne M., Ewango Corneille, Gillet Jean-François, Gonmadje Christelle Flore, Hart T., Kavali T., Kenfack David, Libalah Moses, Malhi Yadvinder, Makana Jean-Rémy, Pélissier Raphaël, Ploton Pierre, Serckx Adeline, Sonké Bonaventure, Stévart Tariq, Thomas D.W., De Cannière Charles, Bogaert Jan. 2015. Seeing Central African forests through their largest trees. Scientific Reports, 5 (1):e13156, 8 p.

Journal article ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact Revue en libre accès total
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Abstract : Large tropical trees and a few dominant species were recently identified as the main structuring elements of tropical forests. However, such result did not translate yet into quantitative approaches which are essential to understand, predict and monitor forest functions and composition over large, often poorly accessible territories. Here we show that the above-ground biomass (AGB) of the whole forest can be predicted from a few large trees and that the relationship is proved strikingly stable in 175 1-ha plots investigated across 8 sites spanning Central Africa. We designed a generic model predicting AGB with an error of 14% when based on only 5% of the stems, which points to universality in forest structural properties. For the first time in Africa, we identified some dominant species that disproportionally contribute to forest AGB with 1.5% of recorded species accounting for over 50% of the stock of AGB. Consequently, focusing on large trees and dominant species provides precise information on the whole forest stand. This offers new perspectives for understanding the functioning of tropical forests and opens new doors for the development of innovative monitoring strategies. (Résumé d'auteur)

Classification Agris : K01 - Forestry - General aspects
U30 - Research methods
F40 - Plant ecology

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 6 (2014-2018) - Sociétés, natures et territoires

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Bastin Jean-François, ULB (BEL)
  • Barbier Nicolas, IRD (FRA)
  • Rejou-Mechain Maxime, IRD (FRA)
  • Fayolle Adeline, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Gourlet-Fleury Sylvie, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-1136-4307
  • Maniatis Danae, University of Oxford (GBR)
  • De Haulleville Thales, Royal Museum for Central Africa (BEL)
  • Baya Fidèle, Ministère des eaux et forêts, chasses, pêches et tourisme (République centrafricaine) (CAF)
  • Beeckman Hans, Royal Museum for Central Africa (BEL)
  • Beina Denis, Université de Bangui (CAF)
  • Couteron Pierre, IRD (FRA)
  • Chuyong George B., Université de Buéa (CMR)
  • Dauby Gilles, ULB (BEL)
  • Doucet Jean-Louis, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Droissart Vincent, IRD (FRA)
  • Dufrêne M., Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Ewango Corneille, CEFRECOF (COG)
  • Gillet Jean-François, Université de Liège (BEL)
  • Gonmadje Christelle Flore, CIRAD-ES-UPR BSef (FRA)
  • Hart T., Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation (COD)
  • Kavali T., Wildlife Conservation Society (COD)
  • Kenfack David, CTFS-ForestGEO (USA)
  • Libalah Moses, University of Yaounde 1 (CMR)
  • Malhi Yadvinder, University of Oxford (GBR)
  • Makana Jean-Rémy, Wildlife Conservation Society (COD)
  • Pélissier Raphaël, IRD (FRA)
  • Ploton Pierre, IRD (FRA)
  • Serckx Adeline, ERAIFT (COD)
  • Sonké Bonaventure, Université de Yaoundé (CMR)
  • Stévart Tariq, Missouri Botanical Garden (USA)
  • Thomas D.W., Oregon State University (USA)
  • De Cannière Charles, ULB (BEL)
  • Bogaert Jan, Université de Liège (BEL)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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