Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 2043–2061 | Cite as

Shrew species diversity and abundance in Ziama Biosphere Reserve, Guinea: comparison among primary forest, degraded forest and restoration plots

  • Violaine Nicolas
  • Patrick Barrière
  • Audrey Tapiero
  • Marc Colyn
Original Paper


The aim of our study was to compare the shrew community diversity and structure in gradients of tropical forest degradation and restoration. Four plots within each of six habitats of the Ziama Biosphere Reserve were surveyed, including primary forest, secondary forest, cultivated fields, recently (less than 3 years) abandoned fields, young (10–12 years) forest restoration plots, and old (34 years) restoration plots. From August to November 2003, we pitfall-trapped 2,509 shrews representing 11 species. Shrew species richness and composition was similar in the six habitat surveyed, while shrew species abundance varied between habitats. Canopy height and cover, density of stems and trees and understorey density were shown to constitute important parameters influencing the abundance of several shrew species. After clear-cutting, restoration of key attributes of the forest vegetation structure was possible in 10–34 years, either by natural regeneration or by planting of seedlings. The relative abundance of most shrew species was similar between restoring forest (i.e., young restoration plots or fallows) and primary forest. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods of forest restoration, one of the most suitable management practices to restore forest while preserving shrew biodiversity could be to perform an alternation of native seedling plantation lines and fallows.


Africa Biodiversity Conservation Ecology Forest restoration Shrews Soricidae Species inventory Tropical forest West Africa 



This program was funded by Rural Resources Management Project, GFA-Terra Systems. We are especially grateful to J. M. Petit (GFA-TS), C. Conde (GFA-TS), S. Koivogui and all other field assistants for their technical support in the field. We thank the Direction Nationale des Eaux et Forêts, Ministère Guinéen de l’agriculture et de l’élevage for giving us export permits. We are grateful to P. Descheres for providing information on study sites and for its comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript. We thank E. Verheyen, T. Dillen and S. Quérouil for their contribution to molecular sequencing of several specimens.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Violaine Nicolas
    • 1
  • Patrick Barrière
    • 2
    • 3
  • Audrey Tapiero
    • 3
  • Marc Colyn
    • 3
  1. 1.Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, Département de Systématique et Evolution, USM 601, Muséum National d’Histoire NaturelleParisFrance
  2. 2.AICA-CREGBourailNew Caledonia
  3. 3.Université de Rennes 1, CNRS-UMR 6553PaimpontFrance

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