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Improved timber harvest techniques maintain biodiversity in tropical forests

Bicknell, Jake E., Struebig, Matthew J., Edwards, David P., Davies, Zoe G. (2014) Improved timber harvest techniques maintain biodiversity in tropical forests. Current Biology, 24 (23). pp. 1119-1120. ISSN 0960-9822. (doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.067)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.067

Abstract

Tropical forests are selectively logged at 20 times the rate at which they are cleared, and at least a fifth have already been disturbed in this way. In a recent pan-tropical assessment, Burivalova et al. demonstrate the importance of logging intensity as a driver of biodiversity decline in timber estates. Their analyses reveal that species richness of some taxa could decline by 50% at harvest intensities of 38 m3 ha-1. However, they did not consider the extraction techniques that lead to these intensities. Here, we conduct a complementary meta-analysis of assemblage responses to differing logging practices: conventional logging and reduced-impact logging. We show that biodiversity impacts are markedly less severe in forests that utilise reduced-impact logging, compared to those using conventional methods. While supporting the initial findings of Burivalova et al., we go on to demonstrate that best practice forestry techniques curtail the effects of timber extraction regardless of intensity. Therefore, harvest intensities are not always indicative of actual disturbance levels resulting from logging. Accordingly, forest managers and conservationists should advocate practices that offer reduced collateral damage through best practice extraction methods, such as those used in reduced-impact logging. Large-scale implementation of this approach would lead to improved conservation values in the 4 million km2 of tropical forests that are earmarked for timber extraction.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.10.067
Uncontrolled keywords: Conventional logging; Forest disturbance; Forest certification; Meta-analysis; Reduced-Impact Logging; RIL; Sustainable forestry
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH541 Ecology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: Jake Bicknell
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2015 13:52 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 14:28 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48148 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bicknell, Jake E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6831-627X
Struebig, Matthew J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2058-8502
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