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Protected reserves within tropical forests managed for timber production: recommendations using Bolivia as a case study

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The Bolivian forestry law requires that 10 per cent of areas under forest management must be set aside as ecological reserves, serving as protected areas from resource extraction. These guidelines appear to be based largely on reserve design theory from the conservation biology literature including recommendations for large, contiguous blocks of reserves interconnected with other protected areas through corridor networks. Such recommendations, however, are largely applicable to protected areas that are embedded within fragmented landscapes or where there is significant threat of deforestation. In contrast, protected areas within managed forests in Bolivia are surrounded by areas of largely intact forest subjected to low-intensity reduced impact logging and where logging occurs with a felling cycle not less than 20 years. Following an analysis of the current Bolivian law, conservation goals, and pertinent literature, we argue that issues of size and connectivity are perhaps less important within landscapes dominated by areas under forest management for timber production compared to protected areas imbedded within fragmented landscapes. It may, therefore, be more effective to disperse ecological reserves throughout management units to protect critical habitat and sites prone to damage from logging.
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Keywords: biodiversity; conservation; forest management; logging; protected area

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 212 Garber Hall, Ferrum College, Ferrum, Virginia, 24088 USA. 2: Instituto Boliviano de Investigacin Forestal, P. O. Box 6204, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia; Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group, Wageningen University, P. O. Box 47, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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