Assessing sampling biases in logging impact studies in tropical forests

Juliana Laufer, Fernanda Michalski, Carlos A. Peres

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17 Citations (Scopus)


The ecological responses of tropical forest wildlife to selective timber extraction have received considerable attention in the last few decades, yet there is little consensus among the large number of studies about the most appropriate sampling design. Here, we reviewed 26 years of tropical forest logging literature to evaluate the relationship between sampling design and the quality of information reported, which varied greatly among 75 studies. Most studies (88%) failed to include a pre-logging baseline condition in the sampling design, and the temporal scale of post-logging studies was generally inadequate. Studies also usually failed to report key information on study areas; only half of the articles reported some information on the spatial scale of the study, and only one-third presented some quantitative metric to describe forest habitat structure. Additionally, most studies (64%) failed to report the type of forest management and almost half (45%) did not describe the intensity of timber harvest in the logged areas. These sampling and reporting biases in logging studies hugely undermine the comparability among studies. We conclude with some general guidelines to maximize comparability among studies, and to enhance the potential usefulness of future logging studies for wildlife conservation strategies in tropical forest regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-34
Number of pages19
JournalTropical Conservation Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Fauna
  • Forest management
  • Sampling design
  • Selective logging
  • Wildlife

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