Inventory of large fauna within a forestry permit via the photographic trap technique and the route of recces

Janvier 2021
Ref 2021-G-065

Forest and tropical timber industry, Natural forests management, Protection and conservation
Central Africa

Following the acquisition of new forest concessions by a forestry company in Gabon, TEREA has carried out, in collaboration with its partner ORYX, an inventory of the medium and large fauna on an area of 40 000 ha, in order to better understand the biodiversity present and its spatial distribution within the forest massif.

Different inventory techniques were used to obtain the most relevant data sets possible:

  • Recces (or reconnaissance walks)
  • Photographic traps

Nearly 40 photographic traps were deployed in a standardised manner in a grid pattern covering the entire permit. An additional 10 traps were placed opportunistically on sites suggesting the presence of particular species or the passage of large numbers of animal species (salt marsh, busy path, etc.). The traps, which were active 24 hours a day, made it possible to capture discrete species and nocturnal species that were difficult to observe using other inventory techniques.

The traps were walked through during the setting of the photographic traps. Each route between the setting of two traps constitutes a recce. This technique consists of following "paths of least resistance" in the forest (elephant tracks, open understorey forest, ridges, human tracks, etc.) while keeping a roughly defined azimuth. Direct and indirect wildlife evidence is recorded on both sides of the observer.

These fauna inventories improve our knowledge of the animal species (mainly medium and large mammals) living in these forests and their ranges within the inventoried area. These data can be used to adapt the timing and organisation of logging operations to minimise the impact of logging on wildlife.