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Puducherry, India

Pennec F.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Krief S.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Hladik A.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Ayingweu C.L.,University of Kinshasa | And 4 more authors.
Plant Ecology and Evolution | Year: 2016

Background and aims – Forest-savanna mosaics are some of the very diverse habitat types of the Congo Basin; multiple factors influence their dynamics such as climatic and edaphic conditions, animal dispersion, and anthropogenic activities. Presently, few studies have described this type of habitat, despite their important role in biodiversity conservation and their fragmentation. This study identified and described the floristic and structural composition of eight vegetation types of a long-term study site for bonobos in a forest-savanna mosaic of Bolobo Territory in the southwestern Congo Basin, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Methods – We surveyed trees, lianas and terrestrial herbaceous vegetation in 51 sampling units using a nested plot sampling, totaling 12.75 ha for trees with diameter at breast height (1.30 m above ground level, dbh) ≥ 30 cm, 5.1 ha for tree species with 10 cm ≤ dbh < 30 cm, and 0.02 ha for herbaceous vegetation, seedlings and saplings. First, detrended correspondence analysis of floristic data allowed the discrimination of seasonally inundated forests from terra firma forests. Then, structural data were analyzed to discriminate five terra firma forest types using hierarchical cluster analysis. Key results – In this survey, 146 trees, 50 lianas and 42 herbaceous species were identified. Eight vegetation types were characterized. Each vegetation type was described in terms of structure (trees and lianas densities, basal areas, herbaceous vegetation densities) and floristic characteristics (species diversity, importance value index of tree species). Conclusions – Some characteristics of vegetation types were particularly relevant to discuss (1) the forestsavanna dynamics and the important role of Pentaclethra eetveldeana in the plant succession, and (2) the effects of anthropogenic activities on different vegetation types. © 2016 Botanic Garden Meise and Royal Botanical Society of Belgium.

Narat V.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Guillot J.,Dynamyc Research Group | Pennec F.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Lafosse S.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | And 4 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2015

Phylogenetic and geographic proximities between humans and apes pose a risk of zoonotic transmission of pathogens. Bonobos (Pan paniscus) of the Bolobo Territory, Democratic Republic of the Congo, live in a fragmented forest-savanna mosaic setting, a marginal habitat for this species used to living in dense forests. Human activities in the forest have increased the risk of contacts between humans and bonobos. Over 21 months (September 2010–October 2013), we monitored intestinal parasites in bonobo (n = 273) and in human (n = 79) fecal samples to acquire data on bonobo parasitology and to assess the risk of intestinal helminth transmission between these hosts. Coproscopy, DNA amplification, and sequencing of stored dried feces and larvae were performed to identify helminths. Little difference was observed in intestinal parasites of bonobos in this dryer habitat compared to those living in dense forests. Although Strongylids, Enterobius sp., and Capillaria sp. were found in both humans and bonobos, the species were different between the hosts according to egg size or molecular data. Thus, no evidence of helminth transmission between humans and bonobos was found. However, because humans and this threatened species share the same habitat, it is essential to continue to monitor this risk. © 2015, International Association for Ecology and Health.

Narat V.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Pennec F.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Simmen B.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology | Ngawolo J.C.B.,NGO Mbou Mon Tour | Krief S.,CNRS Eco-anthropology and Ethnobiology
Primates | Year: 2015

Habituation is the term used to describe acceptance by wild animals of a human observer as a neutral element in their environment. Among primates, the process takes from a few days for Galago spp. to several years for African apes. There are also intraspecies differences reflecting differences in habitat, home range, and ape–human relationship history. Here, we present the first study of the process of bonobo habituation in a fragmented habitat, a forest–savanna mosaic in the community-based conservation area led by the Congolese nongovernmental organization Mbou-Mon-Tour, Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this area, local people use the forest almost every day for traditional activities but avoid bonobos because of a traditional taboo. Because very few flight reactions were observed during habituation, we focused on quantitative parameters to assess the development of ape tolerance and of the tracking efficiency of observer teams. During the 18-month study period (May 2012–October 2013), 4043 h (319 days) were spent in the forest and bonobos were observed for a total of 405 h (196 contacts on 134 days). The average contact duration was stable over time (124 min), but the minimal distance during a contact decreased with habituation effort. Moreover, bonobo location and tracking efficiency, daily ratio of contact time to habituation effort, and the number of observations at ground level were positively correlated with habituation effort. Our observations suggest that bonobos become habituated relatively rapidly. These results are discussed in relation to the habitat type, ape species, and the local sociocultural context of villagers. The habituation process involves changes in ape behavior toward observers and also more complex interactions concerning the ecosystem, including the building of an efficient local team. Before starting a habituation process, knowledge of the human sociocultural context is essential to assess the balance between risks and benefits. © 2015, Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan.

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