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Land-sharing versus land-sparing logging: reconciling timber extraction with biodiversity conservation



Selective logging is a major driver of rainforest degradation across the tropics. Two competing logging strategies are proposed to meet timber demands with the least impact on biodiversity: land sharing, which combines timber extraction with biodiversity protection across the concession; and land sparing, in which higher intensity logging is combined with the protection of intact primary forest reserves. We evaluate these strategies by comparing the abundances and species richness of birds, dung beetles and ants in Borneo, using a protocol that allows us to control for both timber yield and net profit across strategies. Within each taxonomic group, more species had higher abundances with land-sparing than land-sharing logging, and this translated into significantly higher species richness within land-sparing concessions. Our results are similar when focusing only on species found in primary forest and restricted in range to Sundaland, and they are independent of the scale of sampling. For each taxonomic group, land-sparing logging was the most promising strategy for maximizing the biological value of logging operations.