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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Carbon and Biodiversity Impacts of Intensive Versus Extensive Tropical Forestry

Griscom, Bronson W.; Goodman, Rosa C.; Burivalova, Zuzana; Putz, Francis E.


How should we meet the demand for wood while minimizing climate and biodiversity impacts? We address this question for tropical forest landscapes designated for timber production. We model carbon and biodiversity outcomes for four archetypal timber production systems that all deliver the same volume of timber but vary in their spatial extent and harvest intensity. We include impacts of variable deforestation risk (secure land tenure or not) and alternative harvesting practices (certified reduced-impact logging methods or not).We find that low-intensity selective logging offers both the best and the worst overall outcomes per unit wood produced, depending on whether certified reduced-impact logging methods are used and whether land tenure is secure. Medium-to-high-intensity natural forest harvests and conversion to high-yield plantations generate intermediate outcomes. Deforestation risk had the strongest influence on overall outcomes. In the absence of deforestation, logging impacts were lowest at intermediate and high management intensities.


Carbon flux; certification; conservation planning; deforestation; land use intensification; reduced-impact logging (RIL); selective logging; sharing versus sparing; species richness; tropical forestry

Published in

Conservation Letters
2018, Volume: 11, number: 1, article number: e12362
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


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