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80 percent of Malaysian Borneo degraded by logging
Date:7/20/2013

Washington, DCA study published in the July 17, issue of the journal PLOS ONE found that more than 80% of tropical forests in Malaysian Borneo have been heavily impacted by logging.

The Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak were already thought to be global hotspots of forest loss and degradation due to timber and oil palm industries, but the rates and patterns of change have remained poorly measured by conventional field or satellite approaches. A research team from the University of Tasmania, University of Papua New Guinea, and the Carnegie Institution for Science documented the full extent of logging in this region.

The team used the Carnegie Landsat Analysis System-lite (CLASlite) to reveal the vast and previously unmapped extent of heavily logged forest. CLASlite's high-resolution satellite imaging uncovered logging roads in Brunei and in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

CLASlite, developed by Carnegie's Greg Asner and team, has the unique ability to convert satellite images of seemingly dense tropical forest cover into highly detailed maps of deforestation and forest degradation. The user-friendly monitoring system has been made available to hundreds of governments, nongovernmental organizations, and academic institutions for use in mapping tropical forests.

Analysis of satellite imagery collected from 1990 and 2009 over Malaysian Borneo showed approximately 226,000 miles (364,000 km) of roads constructed throughout the forests of this region. Nearly 80% of the land surface of Sabah and Sarawak was impacted by previously undocumented, high-impact logging or clearing operations. This finding contrasted strongly with neighboring Brunei, where 54% of the land area maintained intact unlogged forest.

Team leader Jane Bryan said: "There is a crisis in tropical forest ecosystems worldwide, and our work documents the extent of the crisis on Malaysian Borneo. Only small a
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Contact: Greg Asner
gpa@carnegiescience.edu
650-462-1047
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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