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Elsa M. Ordway and Gregory P. Asner  (2020) PNAS, published March 30

www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1914420117

Elsa Ordway and Gregory Asner utilized airborne mapping technologies to quantify changes in forest structure along oil palm plantations in Malaysian Borneo. Rapid expansion of agriculture was correlated to edge effects extending over 100m into the forest. They found average decline of 22% in aboveground carbon, along with changes in canopy structure related to light capture, including significant reduction in canopy height and leaf mass corresponding to declines in aboveground carbon. Although edge effects on ecosystem structure can vary, their findings implicate agricultural plantations neighboring rainforests in long-term negative effects on forest diversity and carbon storage.

Image: Palm oil plantations neighboring rainforest in Borneo, Malaysia. Photo 40386366 © Richard Carey – Dreamstime.com

 

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