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Positive impacts of Mbuti habitation on the forest environment

Excerpt from "..The forest world as a circulation system: The impacts of Mbuti habitation and subsistence activities on the forest environment" by Mitsuo Ichikawa, Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University: "...Abstract: While the dependence of Mbuti hunter-gatherers on the forest is relatively well documented, it has not been made clear how their activities and habitation influence the forest environment in which they live. The analysis of distribution of food plants and human induced secondary forests in the Ituri Forest of Congo suggests that the forest as a hunter-gatherer habitat may have been improved by the interaction of Mbuti hunters, Bantu and other farmers, plants and animals. Most of the major food plants of the Mbuti are light-demanding trees which grow well in secondary and disturbed vegetation regenerated from abandoned campsites and fields. The food plants also germinate from the discarded food thrown around the campsite. Moreover, large quantities of minerals and organic matters are concentrated to the camp as food and fuels, which, after the consumption, are accumulated also around the campsite in the forms of ashes and human body wastes, thus enriching the soil nutrients in the vicinity of the camp. The Mbuti activities and habitation thus comprise a part of a large recycling system of the forest ecosystem. The implications of such positive human impacts on the forest environment for conservation and development issues are discussed..."

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