Research ArticleAPPLIED ECOLOGY

Persistent collapse of biomass in Amazonian forest edges following deforestation leads to unaccounted carbon losses

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Science Advances  30 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 40, eaaz8360
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz8360

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  • RE: Silva Junior et al. Persistent collapse of biomass in Amazonian forest edges following deforestation leads to unaccounted carbon losses
    • Paul Dargusch, Associate Professor, The University of Queensland

    The dynamics of carbon losses due to degradation in Amazonian forest edges reported by Silva Junior et al. are likely to also be the case in the degraded forests of Papua New Guinea. Papua New Guinea’s forests are being lost at an alarming rate. Forest loss in Papua New Guinea’s low altitude forests, which account for around 20 million ha of total forest cover, has continued at between 3 and 5% loss by area per year since 2010, mostly through log-export driven logging operations. These logging operations result in similar processes of forest degradation and carbon loss as reported by Silva Junior et al. Despite an evolving and robust set of frameworks prohibiting some logging practices, enforcement has been minimal, and Papua New Guinea continues to be the world’s largest exporter of tropical timber. Whilst effectively all logging operations in Papua New Guinea operate under a valid license, nearly all logging operations in Papua New Guinea can be considered ‘unlawful’ in that they do not fully comply with national laws and regulations. Many existing logging permits stem from permits issued in the early 1990s that have since been renewed or modified. The current malaise of different forms of logging permits creates sufficient confusion to blur the lines between illegal and legal logging operations. Current permits for logging are granted as ‘Timber Rights Purchases’, ‘Forest Management Agreements’, ‘Forest Clearance Authorities’ and ‘Timber Authorities’. Though most of the...

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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