Are we approaching 'peak timber' in the tropics?

Shearman, Philip, Bryan, Jane, and Laurance, William F. (2012) Are we approaching 'peak timber' in the tropics? Biological Conservation, 151 (1). pp. 17-21.

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Over the past few decades, tropical timber production in many Asia–Pacific countries has been akin to the symmetric logistic distribution curve, or 'Hubbert Curve', observed in the exploitation of many non-renewable resources — a rapid increase in production followed by a peak and then decline. There are three principal reasons why logging of native tropical forests resembles the mining of a non-renewable resource: the standard cutting cycle of 30–40 years is too brief to allow the wood volume to regenerate; tropical logging catalyses considerable deforestation; and the bulk of logging is undertaken by multinational corporations with little interest in long-term local sustainability. Unless something fundamental changes, we believe tropical forests will continue to be overharvested and cleared apace, leading to an inevitable global decline in tropical timbers of non-plantation origin. It has become common these days to speak of 'peak oil'. In the tropics, we suggest that we should also begin to discuss the implications of 'peak timber'.

Item ID: 23028
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-2917
Keywords: developing nations; illegal logging; multinational corporations; overharvests; renewable resource; selective logging; sustainability; timber supplies; tropical forests; wood production
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Special Issue Article: Advancing Environmental Conservation: Essays In Honor Of Navjot Sodhi

Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2012 05:25
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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