Four decades of forest persistence, clearance and logging on Borneo

Gaveau, David L.A., Sloan, Sean, Molidena, Elis, Yaen, Husna, Sheil, Doug, Abram, Nicola K., Ancrenaz, Marc, Nasi, Robert, Quinones, Marcela, Wielaard, Niels, and Meijaard, Erik (2014) Four decades of forest persistence, clearance and logging on Borneo. PLoS One, 9 (7). e101654. pp. 1-11.

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Abstract

The native forests of Borneo have been impacted by selective logging, fire, and conversion to plantations at unprecedented scales since industrial-scale extractive industries began in the early 1970s. There is no island-wide documentation of forest clearance or logging since the 1970s. This creates an information gap for conservation planning, especially with regard to selectively logged forests that maintain high conservation potential. Analysing LANDSAT images, we estimate that 75.7% (558,060 km(2)) of Borneo's area (737,188 km(2)) was forested around 1973. Based upon a forest cover map for 2010 derived using ALOS-PALSAR and visually reviewing LANDSAT images, we estimate that the 1973 forest area had declined by 168,493 km(2) (30.2%) in 2010. The highest losses were recorded in Sabah and Kalimantan with 39.5% and 30.7% of their total forest area in 1973 becoming non-forest in 2010, and the lowest in Brunei and Sarawak (8.4%, and 23.1%). We estimate that the combined area planted in industrial oil palm and timber plantations in 2010 was 75,480 km(2), representing 10% of Borneo. We mapped 271,819 km of primary logging roads that were created between 1973 and 2010. The greatest density of logging roads was found in Sarawak, at 0.89 km km(-2), and the lowest density in Brunei, at 0.18 km km(- 2). Analyzing MODIS-based tree cover maps, we estimate that logging operated within 700 m of primary logging roads. Using this distance, we estimate that 266,257 km(2) of 1973 forest cover has been logged. With 389,566 km(2) (52.8%) of the island remaining forested, of which 209,649 km(2) remains intact. There is still hope for biodiversity conservation in Borneo. Protecting logged forests from fire and conversion to plantations is an urgent priority for reducing rates of deforestation in Borneo.

Item ID: 36134
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2014 Gaveau et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: Arcus Foundation, CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:36
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961308 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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