• Open Access

Sustaining conservation values in selectively logged tropical forests: the attained and the attainable

Authors

  • Francis E. Putz,

    1. Department of Biology, P.O. 118526, 209 Carr Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611–8526, USA
    2. Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Pieter A. Zuidema,

    1. Prince Bernhard Chair for International Nature Conservation, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands
    2. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Timothy Synnott,

    1. Paseo de las Cumbres 1050, Lomas de Lourdes, 25090 Saltillo, Coahuila, México
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Marielos Peña-Claros,

    1. Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Centre for Ecosystem Studies, Wageningen University, PO Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands
    2. Instituto Boliviano de Investigación Forestal (IBIF), PO Box 6204, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Michelle A. Pinard,

    1. Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences (IBES), University of Aberdeen, St Machar Drive, Cruickshank Building, Aberdeen AB24 3UU, UK
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Douglas Sheil,

    1. Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation, PO Box 44, Kabale, Uganda and Center for International Forestry Research, P.O. Box 0113 BOCBD, Bogor 16000, Indonesia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Jerome K. Vanclay,

    1. School of Environmental Science and Management, Southern Cross University, PO Box 157, Lismore, NSW, Australia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Plinio Sist,

    1. CIRAD, Campus International de Baillarguet, TA C-36/D, 34398 Montpellier cedex 5, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury,

    1. CIRAD, Campus International de Baillarguet, TA C-36/D, 34398 Montpellier cedex 5, France
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Bronson Griscom,

    1. The Nature Conservancy, 320 Franklin St., Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • John Palmer,

    1. Forest Management Trust, 2724 West Cortez St., Chicago, IL 60622–3419, USA
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Roderick Zagt

    1. Tropenbos International, PO Box 232, 6700 AE Wageningen, the Netherlands
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Editor 
    Dr. Belinda Reyers

Francis E. Putz, Department of Biology, P.O. 118526, 209 Carr Hall, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611–8526, USA. Tel.: 1–352-392–1486; fax: 1–352-392–3701. e-mail: fep@ufl.edu

Abstract

Most tropical forests outside protected areas have been or will be selectively logged so it is essential to maximize the conservation values of partially harvested areas. Here we examine the extent to which these forests sustain timber production, retain species, and conserve carbon stocks. We then describe some improvements in tropical forestry and how their implementation can be promoted.

 A simple meta-analysis based on >100 publications revealed substantial variability but that: timber yields decline by about 46% after the first harvest but are subsequently sustained at that level; 76% of carbon is retained in once-logged forests; and, 85–100% of species of mammals, birds, invertebrates, and plants remain after logging. Timber stocks will not regain primary-forest levels within current harvest cycles, but yields increase if collateral damage is reduced and silvicultural treatments are applied.

 Given that selectively logged forests retain substantial biodiversity, carbon, and timber stocks, this “middle way” between deforestation and total protection deserves more attention from researchers, conservation organizations, and policy-makers. Improvements in forest management are now likely if synergies are enhanced among initiatives to retain forest carbon stocks (REDD+), assure the legality of forest products, certify responsible management, and devolve control over forests to empowered local communities.

Ancillary