Edu Effiom gains her PhD

Edu has successfully defended her PhD thesis titled “Consequences of bushmeat hunting in tropical forests” on March 1st2013 at Lund University, Sweden. Funding for her thesis was provided by grants from Sida, Kungliga Fysiografiska Sallskapet and Formas with support from Lund University, Cross River State Forestry Commission, A. P.  Leventis   Ornithological Research Institute, Jos and WCS. 

Her thesis evaluated the effect of bushmeat hunting in southeastern Nigerian rainforests on: 
1) adult tree, seedling, and animal community compositions 
2) germination and survival among seedlings in association with competition 
3) changes in community composition at multiple trophic levels 
4) leaf nitrogen concentration (LNC), leaf mass per area (LMA) and stem specific density (SSD) 
5) on human reliance on forest resources and rural people use forest resources

Results from her thesis showed that primates (4-180 kg) were much rarer in hunted sites, while seed predators increased in abundance with hunting. Community composition of birds was similar in paired sites.  Seedlings and adult tree composition were similar in protected sites. Abiotically dispersed species dominated in hunted sites and had a higher germination rate only in hunted sites. Seedling communities were significantly related to mammal communities. LNC and SSD increased with hunting but not LMA. Data from questionnaires administered in four villages in and around the Cross River National Park revealed an overwhelming reliance by households on forest resources for sustenance. Contrary to prevailing knowledge, the collection of food resources was the most widespread form of resource extraction and not bushmeat. More primate dispersed trees have utility for human compared trees with other dispersal modes. Results reveal a minimal effect of competition among seedlings rather that dispersal limitation and altered mammal community composition triggered by the decline of efficient seed dispersing vertebrates majorly mediate changes in seedling communities and that these changes are largely detrimental to forest conservation and human wellbeing. 

One of her papers haverecently been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1759/20130246.abstract

More on her work can be seen at:
http://www4.lu.se/o.o.i.s/23814