Recent Surveys Show Orangutans Can Be Maintained in Sustainably Logged Forests


Orang-utan - Original Image

Marc Ancrenaz, Laurentius Ambu, Indra Sunjoto and others listed in the citation have issued a paper focusing on how commercial, slightly logged forest reserves can play a role in the conservation of endangered orangutans through sustainable forestry and sustainable logging practices.  The abstract to their paper reads:

Today the majority of wild great ape populations are found outside of the network of protected areas in both Africa and Asia, therefore determining if these populations are able to survive in forests that are exploited for timber or other extractive uses and how this is managed, is paramount for their conservation.

Methodology/Principal Findings

In 2007, the “Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Project” (KOCP) conducted aerial and ground surveys of orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus morio) nests in the commercial forest reserves of Ulu Segama Malua (USM) in eastern Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Compared with previous estimates obtained in 2002, our recent data clearly shows that orang-utan populations can be maintained in forests that have been lightly and sustainably logged. However, forests that are heavily logged or subjected to fast, successive coupes that follow conventional extraction methods, exhibit a decline in orang-utan numbers which will eventually result in localized extinction (the rapid extraction of more than 100 m3 ha−1 of timber led to the crash of one of the surveyed sub-populations). Nest distribution in the forests of USM indicates that orang-utans leave areas undergoing active disturbance and take momentarily refuge in surrounding forests that are free of human activity, even if these forests are located above 500 m asl. Displaced individuals will then recolonize the old-logged areas after a period of time, depending on availability of food sources in the regenerating areas.


These results indicate that diligent planning prior to timber extraction and the implementation of reduced-impact logging practices can potentially be compatible with great ape conservation.

Read the full paper here in PDF format.

Citation: Ancrenaz M, Ambu L, Sunjoto I, Ahmad E, Manokaran K, et al. (2010) Recent Surveys in the Forests of Ulu Segama Malua, Sabah, Malaysia, Show That Orang-utans (P. p. morio) Can Be Maintained in Slightly Logged Forests. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11510. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011510

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lynne Hooper, Professor Paul. Professor Paul said: New article:Study shows #orangutans can be maintained in sustainably logged forests #sustainability #forestry […]

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