Sumatran Forest - Overview of deforestation

Header Image of Sumatran Forest
 

Open Google Earth files Download these Google Earth KML files to explore tropical deforestation across the island of Sumatra from 1990-2000 in high resolution (up to 1:150,000 scale) with a bird's-eye view. These KMLs contain a map of protected areas (national parks, nature, wildlife, game reserves, and nature recreation centers) with statistics of loss, and logging roads from 1990-2000. For best color rendering in Google Earth, go to tools>options and untick "compress" in texture color.

Deforestation sumatrawide

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Gaveau et al. 2009 Evaluating protected area effectiveness in Sumatra. Journal of Biogeography

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Parks in Sumatra reduce deforestation to adjacent areas

We report that the establishment of protected areas on the Indonesian island of Sumatra may have helped reduce deforestation in adjacent unprotected areas. The results run counter to recent studies elsewhere that suggest the establishment of nature reserves attracts development projects and migrants to surrounding areas, undermining overall conservation efforts.

Analyzing nearly 100 LANDSAT satellite images (if you are interested in doing this too, make sure you have a good broadband connection) across Sumatra and the smaller island of Siberut from 1990 to 2000 and applying a statistical method known as "propensity score matching", we found that Sumatran protected areas have promoted protection, rather than deforestation, in adjacent unprotected land lying within 10 km of protected area boundaries.

Map of deforestation Sumatra wide

Fig. 1. Sumatra's protected and unprotected forests in 1990 (left). Remaining forests in 2000, deforestation and logging trails occurring during the period 1990 until 2000 (right).

This result suggests that Sumatran PAs have not attracted migrants and development projects along their boundary. Instead, this study provides evidence for the presence of a 'beneficial neighborhood leakage' effect. It appears that reducing deforestation inside Sumatran protected areas has promoted protection to adjacent unprotected areas.

Whether Sumatran protected areas extend their conservation influence beyond their boundary may prove controversial, because enhanced law enforcement and ecotourism activities on private lands around protected areas are not well developed on the island of Sumatra. The unexpected presence of a beneficial leakage effect that conserves forests adjacent to protected areas may be explained by an island-wide decreasing population growth effect near Sumatran protected areas as human population moves closer to urban centers.

The success of protected areas in reducing deforestation is tempered by the continued loss of forest in Sumatra. Between 1990 and 2000 Sumatra lost at least 50,078 square kilometers of forest, 25.6 percent of its forest cover, while 49,020 kilometers of logging roads had been built in remaining forest areas. More than 35 percent of the Sumatran protected set aside to conserve biodiversity had experienced severe rates of forest loss (> 1% year) and 60% had been encroached by mechanized logging operations (Table 1).

The real question for policy makers is not whether tropical PAs have lower rates of deforestation than unprotected areas, but rather whether the long-term viability of tropical forests has been secured by establishing protected areas.

The long-term viability of Sumatran forests remains open to questions.

 

Table 1. Statistics for losses in forest cover and logging from 1990 to 2000,
shown for each conservation protected area (n=40)

Name

Protection
Status

Area (km²)

1990 Forest
cove
r (km²)

Forest loss
(km²)

Rate of loss
(% per year)

Logging
trails
(km)

Balai Raja Duri

WR

167

113.5

102.6

9.04

100

Batang Pangean II

NR

504

471.7

11.8

0.25

9

Bentayan

WR

356

213.6

121.8

5.70

83

Berback

NP

1,687

1,578.7

386.3

2.45

201

Bukit Barisan Selatan

NP

3,276

2,668.6

152.7

0.57

10

Bukit Batu

WR

234

226.7

1.4

0.06

15

Bukit Bungkuk

GR

128

115.8

2.0

0.17

10

Bukit Duabelas

NP

610

563.0

20.5

0.36

231

Bukit Kaba

NRP

145

82.2

23.7

2.88

0

Bukit Rimbang Bukit Baling

WR

1,362

1,239.3

2.1

0.02

40

Bukit Tigapuluh

NP

1,394

1,332.4

1.6

0.01

189

Cut Nyak Dhien

NR

57

33.7

0.2

0.07

0

Danau Pulau Besar/Bawah

WR

259

232.3

0.6

0.03

46

Dangku

WR

492

322.4

44.0

1.37

106

Dolok Surungan

WR

269

241.7

9.6

0.40

0

Giam Siak Kecil

WR

850

635.6

14.7

0.23

79

Gumai Pasemah

WR

461

335.9

4.6

0.14

0

Gunung Leuser

NP

8,858

8,693.2

98.2

0.11

102

Gunung Raya

WR

482

103.0

16.3

1.58

0

Hutan Pinus/Jantahoi

NR

166

133.1

0.1

0.00

0

Isau-Isau Pasemah

NR

157

73.2

1.4

0.19

0

Kerinci Seblat

NP

13,562

12,733.2

135.3

0.11

73

Kerumutan

WR

963

952.1

3.3

0.03

29

Lingga Isak

GR

862

819.1

11.4

0.14

0

Padang Sugihan

WR

879

516.1

507.9

9.84

361

Rawa Singkil

WR

911

859.1

43.9

0.51

34

Sebanga

EC

58

46.1

37.1

8.05

25

Semidang Bukit Kabu

GR

105

29.4

24.0

8.16

0

Siberut

NP

1,770

1,586.9

9.9

0.06

0

Siranggas

WR

70

54.4

0.1

0.02

0

Sultan Syarif Kasyim Minas

GPF

61

54.8

27.6

5.03

61

Sungai Dumai

RP

25

19.9

4.1

2.03

0

Sungai Sembilang

NP

2,007

751.1

396.5

5.28

261

Tasik Belat

WR

22

20.4

0.0

0.00

1

Tasik Besar/Tasik Metas

WR

26

20.7

0.1

0.03

0

Tasik Serkap

WR

61

59.7

0.2

0.03

5

Tasik Tanjung Pulau Padang

WR

52

49.0

0.2

0.03

8

Tesso nilo*

NP

382

355.4

80.0

2.25

309

Wan Abdul Rachman

WR

218

32.0

0.0

0.00

0

Way Kambas

NP

1,293

617.2

62.3

1.01

38


*protected areas created after 2000
(WR) Wildlife Reserve; (NR) Nature Reserve; (NP) National Park; (GR) Game Reserve; (NRP) Nature Recreation Park; (EC) Elephant Centre.

 

Reference

Gaveau D.L.A, Epting J., Lyne O., Linkie M., Kumara I., Kanninen M., Leader-Williams N. 2009 Evaluating whether protected areas reduce tropical deforestation in Sumatra. Journal of Biogeography 36 2165-2175.

see also Mongabay news.

 

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