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Research Report

Life after logging:: Reconciling wildlife conservation and production forestry in Indonesian Borneo

Erik Meijaard
Douglas Sheil
Robert Nasi
David Augeri
Barry Rosenbaum
Djoko Iskandar
Titiek Setyawati
Martjan Lammertink
Ike Rachmatika
Anna Wong
Tonny Soehartono
Scott Stanley
Timothy O’Brien
Robert Inger
Muchamad Indrawan
Kuswata Kartawinata
Bas van Balen
Gabriella Fredriksson
Rona Dennis
Stephan Wulffraat
Will Duckworth
Tigga Kingston
Foreword by Jeffrey A. Sayer
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2005
Pages: 370
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. xvi-xviii)
    Jeffrey A. Sayer

    Logging of tropical rainforests has a bad public image. Industrial logging is often associated with land clearing for agriculture or plantation crops. The rights of local people are often disregarded by loggers, and corruption and violence are frequently associated with timber operations. It is common for even relatively well-informed commentators to equate logging directly with deforestation and biodiversity loss. The general reaction of the conservation community is to oppose logging.

    The reality is much more complex. Logging of tropical forests is often highly selective; sometimes just a few trees per hectare are removed. Numerous studies have shown that logged-over forests...

  2. (pp. 1-6)

    Tropical rainforests are the most species-rich terrestrial ecosystems on earth, but these forests are rapidly disappearing as land is cleared for timber, agriculture and other uses. Strictly protected areas are never likely to be large enough to conserve all species (Fimbel et al. 2001). Thus, the fate of many species depends upon what happens to forests outside of protected areas.

    Forest areas maintained for timber production represent an opportunity for biodiversity conservation. Although not a substitute for nature reserves, many species could be conserved within a forest estate that is carefully managed on an ecologically sustainable level (Frumhoff 1995). Exploitation...

  3. (pp. 7-14)

    The rainforests of Borneo are globally renowned for their high species richness and endemism (e.g., MacKinnon et al. 1996; Meijaard & Nijman 2003). Indeed these forests are some of the most species rich in the world (Richards 1996; Whitmore 1990a), typically with 150–200 species of trees (>10 cm dbh) per hectare. Borneo has a rich flora, with 10,000 to 15,000 species of flowering plants (MacKinnon et al. 1996). Approximately 37 species of birds, 44 land mammal species and about 34% of all plants are endemic to the island (MacKinnon et al. 1996).

    Borneo still contains important populations of vertebrate species...


    • (pp. 17-28)

      From the results of the completed surveys of vertebrates in the upper Malinau, we selected the best-known species groups in order to identify species traits that could help develop more benign timber harvesting practices. Additionally, this process helped to assess the current state of knowledge regarding the biological and ecological requirements of the vertebrate taxa of East Kalimantan’s lowland and hill forests. Through a synthesis and critical assessment of literature and other knowledge we set out to document the natural history attributes of each species or species group that make them more or less vulnerable to the impacts of timber...

    • (pp. 29-52)

      The global literature on tropical forests and forestry contains some important ideas and concepts. We consider these ideas in the following sections, to provide a more general context for interpreting the species-specific evaluations.

      Comparative faunal surveys dominate the literature on biodiversity conservation and logging. These surveys, in unlogged and logged forests, track changes in individual species’ abundance. The changes are inferred by commonly comparing sites or, less commonly, monitoring over time (for example, Johns 1997). Certain patterns are emerging from the research as to how species and species groups (also called guilds or assemblages) respond to logging.

      The literature can...

    • (pp. 53-70)

      A total of 239 bird species were observed in the MRF between September and October 1998 (O’Brien & Fimbel 2002). This compares favourably with species counts from other areas, some of which covered longer periods and wider elevation ranges, e.g., 187 in Gunung Palung National Park, West Kalimantan (study duration 2–3 years, area 200 ha) (Laman et al. 1996), or 190 from Barito Ulu (study duration 39 days, area 150 ha) (Wilkinson et al. 1991). Families with the most species recorded were represented by Timaliidae (18 species), Pycnonotidae (12 species) and Picidae (12 species). Figures illustrating the relationship between survey...

    • (pp. 71-96)

      Harrison (1968, 1969) was one of the first scientists to assess the nature of forest dependence amongst Southeast Asian mammals. His data suggested that if rainforest is completely destroyed only introduced rats remain. Since then several short and long-term studies have addressed the effects of selective logging on various mammal species, but cause and effect relationships between species density and activities associated with timber harvest remain hard to interpret.

      One of the problems associated with assessing the impact of logging on mammals is that the distribution of many species appears patchy even in undisturbed forest, and densities vary considerably between...

    • (pp. 97-106)

      Amphibians reach their highest diversity in the tropical forests of the world, and represent a significant portion of the vertebrate fauna of tropical forests. They are important components of tropical food webs, where they are probably the principal terrestrial insectivores (Reagan & Waide 1996). Yet the ecology of this component of Southeast Asian rainforests has been dealt with in only relatively few papers. An even lower number have specifically studied the response of the herpetofauna to logging (e.g., Iskandar 1999a; Iskandar & Setyanto 1999; see also Iskandar & Colijn 2000, for species listing).

      Amphibians, and especially tropical forest amphibians, appear to be in...

    • (pp. 107-112)

      Borneo has about 350 species of obligate freshwater fish species, of which about 135 appear endemic to the island (Kottelat et al. 1993). Molengraaff and Weber (1920) pointed out long ago that east Bornean rivers are likely to have higher levels of fish endemism than the rivers on the southern and western sides of the island, because the latter rivers would have been connected to rivers from Java, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula during times of low sea-level, whereas the former faunas remained isolated. This pattern seems to be borne out by recent surveys, including those in Malinau (Rachmatika et...


    • (pp. 115-116)

      We analysed species characteristics in relation to their sensitivity to logging and fragmentation using multivariate statistics. For this we selected 23 bird species (6 hornbills, 13 woodpeckers, 4 pheasants) and 27 mammal species (7 primates, 9 squirrels, 6 ungulates, 4 viverrids, 1 ursid) for which the response to logging had been studied and reported in peer-reviewed journals or books (see Appendices 4 and 5). Our predictor variables included the following data categories: taxonomy, distribution, habitat, natural history, seasonal cycles, ranging behaviour, growth and development, reproduction behaviour, and ecological interactions. We used discriminant analyses, correspondence analyses and principal component analyses to...

    • (pp. 117-126)

      As shown in Tables 2–9 the impact of logging on population densities of our test species is often unclear, with some researches showing increases following logging and other decreases. For each species we tried to generalise the impact of logging, assessing density trends in relation to age of logging and absence and presence of hunting. This is somewhat dependent on judgement and necessarily lacks purely objective criteria.

      Because there are no published data on the effects of fragmentation on Sundaic mammals, we used the number of Southeast Asian islands on which each species occurs (after Meijaard 2003b) as a...

    • (pp. 127-138)

      We aim to identify and clarify opportunities to improve forestry practices and the value of timber concessions for conserving wildlife. We do not claim that logged-over forest can be equal to primary forest in its conservation values, or that strictly protected areas are not needed. We assume:

      1) That logged forests are, and will likely continue to be, a significant land use in Borneo, and in Sundaland more generally;

      2) That these forests have significant conservation values compared with other land uses such as oil palm or acacia plantations;

      3) That these values can be improved by modifying forestry practices;...

    • (pp. 139-142)

      Our review has shown that selective logging, in a commercial concession context, can have a significant negative impact on Bornean vertebrates. Though some of these effects are the direct consequences of timber cutting and extraction, or of road-building, many others are associated with the changes, such as habitat fragmentation and increased hunting, that commonly occur in concessions. All these influences can be reduced by suitable and effective management.

      Sustainable forestry may be the most politically viable means to maintain forest cover in much of Borneo. Conservation of many wide ranging and low density species require large forest landscapes. Recent data...


    • (pp. 145-178)

      The review in Part I and the analyses in Part II of this book indicate that various wildlife species are affected by the ecological repercussions of selective logging and related interventions, but also that forest fragmentation, hunting and other threats can also be significant threats in some circumstances. While harvesting operations can be modified in various ways, the need to maintain forest connectivity, to regulate hunting and to address wider threats poses new challenges and responsibilities. It may not be possible to provide optimal procedures, but it is possible to indicate areas where improvements are likely. Though we have already...

    • (pp. 179-188)

      A recent ITTO mission to Indonesia (Yeom & Chandrasekharan 2001) stated that Indonesian forestry is at a critical crossroads. There are two choices: continue on a path of forest depletion leading to a precipitous decline in the sector’s contribution to socio-economic and environmental well-being or shift towards sustainable contributions over the longer term. There can be no doubt that the long-term costs of the former option are greater than those of the latter. Here we consider how improved government planning and implementation would contribute to the survival of East Kalimantan’s forests and wildlife and what steps might prove most useful.


    • (pp. 189-190)

      This report does not intend to analyse criteria and indicators in detail, but we do want to briefly compare our findings with the mostly widely recognised criteria for sustainable forestry management recommendations. Generally, there is much overlap between our recommendations, or at least the intentions behind them, and those based on the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) principles. For instance, FSC principle 6.2 stresses the need to control ‘inappropriate hunting, fishing, trapping and collecting’, while principle 1.1 stipulates that ‘forest management shall respect all national and local laws and administrative requirements’. Principle 9 states that ‘management activities in high conservation value...


    • (pp. 193-208)

      Our review shows that Bornean wildlife is—with a few exceptions—poorly known, and that threats are poorly investigated. Threats have been best studied in Sarawak, where researchers have looked at the effects of hunting (including that related to timber concessions) on birds and mammals (Bennett et al. 1997; Bennett et al. 1999; Bennett & Gumal 2001), and in the Danum Valley Field Center, Sabah (e.g., Heydon & Bulloh 1997; Colón 1999). In Kalimantan, only primates (especially Orangutans, Pongo pygmaeus) have received much investigation of threats, though we know of some useful recent studies which focus on the Malayan Sun Bear (Ursus...