Change in tropical forest cover of Southeast Asia from 1990 to 2010

2013 ◽  
Vol 10 (8) ◽  
pp. 12625-12653 ◽  
Author(s):  
H.-J. Stibig ◽  
F. Achard ◽  
S. Carboni ◽  
R. Raši ◽  
J. Miettinen

Abstract. The study assesses the extent and trends of forest cover in Southeast Asia for the period 1990–2000–2010 and provides an overview on the main drivers of forest cover change. A systematic sample of 418 sites (10 km × 10 km size) located at the one-degree geographical confluence points and covered with satellite imagery of 30 m resolution is used for the assessment. Techniques of image segmentation and automated classification are combined with visual satellite image interpretation and quality control, involving forestry experts from Southeast Asian countries. The accuracy of our results is assessed through an independent consistency assessment, performed from a subsample of 1572 mapping units and resulting in an overall agreement of > 85% for the general differentiation of forest cover vs. non-forest cover. The total forest cover of Southeast Asia is estimated at 268 Mha in 1990, dropping to 236 Mha in 2010, with annual change rates of 1.75 Mha (~0.67% and 1.45 Mha (~0.59%) for the periods 1990–2000 and 2000–2010, respectively. The vast majority of forest cover loss (~2/3 for 2000–2010) occurred in insular Southeast Asia. Combining the change patterns visible from satellite imagery with the output of an expert consultation on the main drivers of forest change highlights the high pressure on the region's remaining forests. The conversion of forest cover to cash crop plantations (e.g. oil palm) is ranked as the dominant driver of forest change in Southeast Asia, followed by selective logging and the establishment of tree plantations.

2014 ◽  
Vol 11 (2) ◽  
pp. 247-258 ◽  
Author(s):  
H.-J. Stibig ◽  
F. Achard ◽  
S. Carboni ◽  
R. Raši ◽  
J. Miettinen

Abstract. The study assesses the extent and trends of forest cover in Southeast Asia for the periods 1990–2000 and 2000–2010 and provides an overview on the main causes of forest cover change. A systematic sample of 418 sites (10 km × 10 km size) located at the one-degree geographical confluence points and covered with satellite imagery of 30 m resolution is used for the assessment. Techniques of image segmentation and automated classification are combined with visual satellite image interpretation and quality control, involving forestry experts from Southeast Asian countries. The accuracy of our results is assessed through an independent consistency assessment, performed from a subsample of 1572 mapping units and resulting in an overall agreement of >85% for the general differentiation of forest cover versus non-forest cover. The total forest cover of Southeast Asia is estimated at 268 Mha in 1990, dropping to 236 Mha in 2010, with annual change rates of 1.75 Mha (∼0.67%) and 1.45 Mha (∼0.59%) for the periods 1990–2000 and 2000–2010, respectively. The vast majority of forest cover loss (∼2 / 3 for 2000–2010) occurred in insular Southeast Asia. Complementing our quantitative results by indicative information on patterns and on processes of forest change, obtained from the screening of satellite imagery and through expert consultation, respectively, confirms the conversion of forest to cash crops plantations (including oil palm) as the main cause of forest loss in Southeast Asia. Logging and the replacement of natural forests by forest plantations are two further important change processes in the region.


1993 ◽  
Vol 35 (2) ◽  
pp. 318-351 ◽  
Author(s):  
Richard Grove

The history of tropical forest change over the last millennium is difficult to chart with any confident degree of accuracy. Indeed, systematic attempts even for the last hundred years have been made only recently. In general, more is known at present about the history of tropical forests in Asia and Southeast Asia than forests in Africa or South America. This lack of knowledge is partly due to the fact that the causal factors behind the erosion of tropical forests area are particularly difficult to disentangle. However, important connections can be made between European expansion, the penetration of capitalist economic forces, and the transformation of tropical environments.Above all, the spread of market relations in the tropics has served to encourage the rapid clearance of forests for agriculture. The history of global deforestation has probably been closely associated at many of its fastest stages with the dynamics of the forces of industrialisation and the expansion of a European-centered world-system.


2005 ◽  
Vol 3 (2) ◽  
pp. 199-205 ◽  
Author(s):  
Luiz Claudio Di Stasi

An integrated and interdisciplinary research programme with native medicinal plants from tropical forests has been performed in order to obtain new forest products for sustainable use in regional markets vis-à-vis ecosystem conservation. For the success of this programme ethnopharmacological studies are very important with respect to (i) identification of useful plants including medicinal and aromatic species; (ii) recuperation and preservation of traditional knowledge about native plants; and (iii) identification of potential plants with economic value. The plants are selected with a view to evaluate efficacy and safety (pharmacological and toxicological studies), and phytochemical profile and quality control (phytochemical and chromatographic characterization). These studies are very important to add value to plant products and also to mitigate unscrupulous exploitation of medicinal plants by local communities, since multiple use of plants represents an excellent strategy for sustaining the tropical ecosystem through ex situ and in situ conservation. Thus, conservation of tropical resources is possible in conjunction with improvements in the quality of life of the traditional communities and production of new products with therapeutic, cosmetic and ‘cosmeceutic’ value.


2017 ◽  
Vol 115 (1) ◽  
pp. 121-126 ◽  
Author(s):  
Kimberly M. Carlson ◽  
Robert Heilmayr ◽  
Holly K. Gibbs ◽  
Praveen Noojipady ◽  
David N. Burns ◽  
...  

Many major corporations and countries have made commitments to purchase or produce only “sustainable” palm oil, a commodity responsible for substantial tropical forest loss. Sustainability certification is the tool most used to fulfill these procurement policies, and around 20% of global palm oil production was certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2017. However, the effect of certification on deforestation in oil palm plantations remains unclear. Here, we use a comprehensive dataset of RSPO-certified and noncertified oil palm plantations (∼188,000 km2) in Indonesia, the leading producer of palm oil, as well as annual remotely sensed metrics of tree cover loss and fire occurrence, to evaluate the impact of certification on deforestation and fire from 2001 to 2015. While forest loss and fire continued after RSPO certification, certified palm oil was associated with reduced deforestation. Certification lowered deforestation by 33% from a counterfactual of 9.8 to 6.6% y−1. Nevertheless, most plantations contained little residual forest when they received certification. As a result, by 2015, certified areas held less than 1% of forests remaining within Indonesian oil palm plantations. Moreover, certification had no causal impact on forest loss in peatlands or active fire detection rates. Broader adoption of certification in forested regions, strict requirements to avoid all peat, and routine monitoring of clearly defined forest cover loss in certified and RSPO member-held plantations appear necessary if the RSPO is to yield conservation and climate benefits from reductions in tropical deforestation.


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