Report

Long-term collapse in fruit availability threatens Central African forest megafauna

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  24 Sep 2020:
eabc7791
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc7791

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text

Log in to view the full text

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution

Abstract

Afrotropical forests host many of the world’s remaining megafauna, but even here they are confined to areas where direct human influences are low. We use a rare long-term dataset of tree reproduction and a photographic database of forest elephants to assess food availability and body condition of an emblematic megafauna species at Lopé National Park, Gabon. We show an 81% decline in fruiting over a 32-year period (1986-2018) and an 11% decline in body condition of fruit-dependent forest elephants from 2008-2018. Fruit famine in one of the last strongholds for African forest elephants should raise concern for the ability of this species and other fruit-dependent megafauna to persist in the long-term, with consequences for broader ecosystem and biosphere functioning.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science