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[en] Timely and accurate data on forest change within Indonesia is required to provide government, private and civil society interests with the information needed to improve forest management. The forest clearing rate in Indonesia is among the highest reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), behind only Brazil in terms of forest area lost. While the rate of forest loss reported by FAO was constant from 1990 through 2005 (1.87 Mha yr-1), the political, economic, social and environmental drivers of forest clearing changed at the close of the last century. We employed a consistent methodology and data source to quantify forest clearing from 1990 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2005. Results show a dramatic reduction in clearing from a 1990s average of 1.78 Mha yr-1 to an average of 0.71 Mha yr-1 from 2000 to 2005. However, annual forest cover loss indicator maps reveal a near-monotonic increase in clearing from a low in 2000 to a high in 2005. Results illustrate a dramatic downturn in forest clearing at the turn of the century followed by a steady resurgence thereafter to levels estimated to exceed 1 Mha yr-1 by 2005. The lowlands of Sumatra and Kalimantan were the site of more than 70% of total forest clearing within Indonesia for both epochs; over 40% of the lowland forests of these island groups were cleared from 1990 to 2005. The method employed enables the derivation of internally consistent, national-scale changes in the rates of forest clearing, results that can inform carbon accounting programs such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) initiative.
[en] The study found that deforestation causes more monsoon moisture to be retained in the mid-troposphere, thereby reducing the northward transport of moisture needed for rainfall over West Africa. Hence, deforestation has dynamical impacts on the West African monsoon and rainfall.
[en] Cost-effective protected area networks require that decision makers have sufficient information to allocate investments in ways that generate the greatest positive impacts. With applications in more than 50 countries, the Rapid Assessment and Prioritization of Protected Area Management (RAPPAM) method is arguably the tool used most widely to assist such prioritization. The extent to which its indicators provide useful measures of a protected area’s capacity to achieve its conservation objectives, however, has seldom been subject to empirical scrutiny. We use a rich spatial dataset and time series data from 66 forest protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon to examine whether RAPPAM scores are associated with success in avoiding deforestation. We find no statistically significant association between avoided deforestation and indicators that reflect preferential targets of conservation investments, including budget, staff, equipment, management plans and stakeholder collaboration. Instead, we find that the absence of unsettled land tenure conflicts is consistently associated strongly with success in reducing deforestation pressures. Our results underscore the importance of tracking and resolving land tenure in protected area management, and lead us to call for more rigorous assessments of existing strategies for assessing and prioritizing management interventions in protected areas. (letter)