The tropical forests of Malaysia are among the most complex and diverse ecosystems in the world. They play a significant role in the socio-economic development of the nation, and have an important protective role in preserving soil and water resources, maintaining climate patterns and conserving biological diversity. However, there are concerns that the managed forests are experiencing degradation in terms of productivity as well as species diversity due to the impacts inflicted during forest harvesting operations. If current logging practices continue, the biodiversity of the forests and their capacity to recover will be significantly affected.
The project aims to conserve biodiversity through the formulation of improved tools for integrating biodiversity considerations into forest management decisions. Its specific objectives are: a) to develop improved methods for assessing biodiversity and developing a better understanding of the impacts of forest management practices on it; b) to develop improved stand-level models for predicting the impacts of forest management systems on biodiversity; and c) to enhance the capacity of targeted stakeholders in tropical regions and disseminate tools and techniques developed by the project.
Expected outputs of the project include:
- Determination of the value of local refugia on biological recovery;
- Assessment methods for forest biodiversity;
- Assessment of the value of maintaining the vertical structure of forests for biodiversity conservation;
- Statistical models related to biodiversity, vegetation types and forest characteristics;
- Stand-level models predicting regeneration of forest structure and recovery of biodiversity after logging;
- Personnel trained in using biodiversity assessment tools and forest management models developed by the project; and
- Web-site on project-related materials that can be accessed by all interested parties.