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You are here: Home / Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References / Investigating the role of natural gallery forests outside the Congolese rainforest as a refuge for African forest shrews

Patrick Barriere, Rainer Hutterer, Violaine Nicolas, Sophie Querouil, and Marc Colyn (2005)

Investigating the role of natural gallery forests outside the Congolese rainforest as a refuge for African forest shrews


Conditions that prevailed in rainforest faunal refuges during glacial periods of the Pleistocene, particularly their size, position and habitat characteristics, remain little investigated. After the peak of the last interglacial period of the Holocene (7000 years B.P.), the Guineo-Congolese rainforest has been reduced in size and isolated gallery forests emerged in the peripheral Northern Congo forest-savanna mosaic, mainly because of the reduction in rainfall. In the north of the Central African Republic, 400 kin north of the present rainforest zone, up to the Sudano-Sahelian savannas, such gallery forests harbour several forest species of plants, birds and mammals related to West and/or East Congo fauna] regions. This suggests that since the catastrophic destruction of central African rainforests, that Culminated about 2500 years ago, these galleries could have mimicked the conditions that occurred in the Pleistocene refuges. We tested whether these natural gallery forests, outside the Congolese rainforest, could act as refuges for small forest mammals Such as shrews. Composition and Structure of shrew communities were studied in three main regions belonging to three river basins and two distinct phytoregions. They were compared to two other shrew communities located within the main Congolese rainforest, also in C.A.R.. None of the typical rainforest shrew species was collected within the studied isolated gallery forests. Thus, climatic and habitat characteristics within these gallery forests were presumably not Suitable for these forest patches to act as climatic refuges for the forest shrew fauna.

soricidae; Crocidura; Suncus; Central African Republic; community structure; biogeography; refuge theory
  • ISSN: 0777-6276

ISSN 2295-0451 (online version)
ISSN 0777-6279 (printed version)
impact factor 2015: 0,87.

Prof. Dr. Isa Schön
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Vautierstraat 29
1000 Brussels, Belgium


Annales de la Société malacologique de Belgique
​Annales de la Société royale malacologique et zoologique de Belgique
Annales de la Société Royale Zoologique de Belgique
Belgian Journal of Zoology