Logging could be forest saviour
Giving up the idea of a pristine landscape and allowing selective logging in tropical rainforests could be the answer to protecting biodiversity, according to recent research.
Dr David Gaveau, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), will explore this issue and its implications for forest conservation in Indonesian Borneo at a free public lecture at James Cook University in Cairns on May 2.
Dr Gaveau has worked in conservation research in Indonesia since 2002 when he joined the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Indonesia Program.
Before working with CIFOR’s Forests and Environment Program, he held a postdoctoral position monitoring forest ecology in Indonesian Borneo.
“Protecting intact forests by establishing protected areas is a conservation priority in the tropics,” Dr Gaveau said.
“However, recent research suggests that production forests and associated logging concessions can prevent illegal deforestation as effectively as protected areas.
“It shows that selective logging has relatively benign impacts, that tropical logged forests across the globe conserve biodiversity.
“This body of work suggests a “middle way” for conservation, a way that combines protected areas with logging concessions to sustain large forest landscapes, even if it means giving up the idea of pristine landscapes.
“Still, not everyone is convinced that logging should be used to conserve forests.
“Loggers bulldoze labyrinths of roads that open up forests to illegal colonists, farmers, miners, hunters, and fires. This can result in severe forest damage or outright forest destruction.
“Production forests are also more vulnerable to changes in land use regulations that might encourage the conversion of logged forests to industrial-scale agricultural plantations.”
Dr Gaveau, who has a PhD in biodiversity management from the Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, is building a web-based geographic information system that will display a range of geographical data on deforestation in Indonesia using Google Earth’s virtual globe.
His presentation, Does Logging help save forests, or just contribute to rapid forest loss in Borneo, is the latest in James Cook University’s annual series of public lectures in science and engineering.
The lecture will be held in the Crowther Theatre at James Cook University in Smithfield on Thursday, May 2. Refreshments will be served from 5.30pm and the lecture will begin at 6pm.
Issued April 29, 2013
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