Does primary forest protect the bird community?

Primary forest, protected natural areas and national parks are thought to provide wildlife sanctuary from development. Unfortunately, lack of law enforcement often results in illegal logging and hunting in primary forest, national parks and other protected areas in Equatorial Guinea. To assess the ability of such areas to support healthy bird populations, BI scientists have developed two studies to evaluate the efficacy of primary forest and protected areas to conserve diverse bird communities.

Birds of Altos de Nsork National Park – BI scientists captured and counted bird along forested transects inside and outside Altos de Nsork National Park to assess how a large protected area can influence bird diversity. This work lead to some remarkable findings where the national park did indeed host more bird diversity than outside the park. These results were translated to the government of Equatorial Guinea in several reports to help promote the development and maintenance of protected areas for wildlife throughout the country.

Assessing the response of wildlife to development in Oyala – unprecedented construction of Equatorial Guinea’s new capital city, Oyala, has profound repercussions on wildlife. To understand and mitigate the effects of development on wildlife, BI scientists developed study plots to compare disturbed and undisturbed forests. BI is beginning to disentangle which species are most sensitive to development by measuring differences between the birds, mammals, disturbance and human activity within the two study plots. These insights are necessary to identify and protect those habitats capable of maintaining healthy populations of sensitive wildlife in light of continuing development.


Congo serpent eagle

Congo serpent eagle (Dryotriorchis spectabilis) captured in a Biodiversity Initiative study plot near Oyala, Equatorial Guinea. Photo by Oscar Johnson.