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Tree cutting to float rattan to market: a threat to primary forests?

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Cutting small trees to float bundles of rattan cane to market is widespread in Indonesia and is purported to adversely affect primary forests and biodiversity conservation. I monitored rattan cane harvesting, tree species used as floater logs, and the locations and volume of floater log cutting in two forest villages adjacent to Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia for two years. During this period, an average of 135 and 100 tons of commercial rattan cane, primarily Calamus zollingeri, was harvested annually from the two villages, respectively. Floating cane to market required approximately 2350 and 1667 logs (each 3 m in length and 15-20 cm in diameter) or about 1175 and 834 trees annually in the two villages. Eight tree species were regularly used as floater logs and all were light-weight, fast-growing, pioneer species. Floater logs were harvested from fallowed shifting cultivation fields and naturally disturbed riparian flood plains. Over the two year study period, there was little floater log cutting in primary forests either inside or outside of the national park. The use of early successional tree species to float rattan to market does not appear to adversely affect primary forests or protected area management in this region.


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