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Longer-term responses of rainforest erosional systems at different spatial scales to selective logging and climatic change

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

  • R. P. D. Walsh
  • K. Bidin
  • W. H. Blake
  • N. A. Chappell
  • M. A. Clarke
  • I. Douglas
  • R. Ghazali
  • A. M. Sayer
  • J. Suhaimi
  • W. Tych
  • K. V. Annammala
Journal publication date2011
JournalPhilosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Journal numbern/a
Volume366
Number of pages14
Pages3340-3353
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Long-term (21–30 years) erosional responses of rainforest terrain in the Upper Segama catchment, Sabah, to selective logging are assessed at slope, small and large catchment scales. In the 0.44 km2 Baru catchment, slope erosion measurements over 1990–2010 and sediment fingerprinting indicate
that sediment sources 21 years after logging in 1989 are mainly road-linked, including fresh landslips and gullying of scars and toe deposits of 1994–1996 landslides. Analysis and modelling of 5–15 min stream-suspended sediment and discharge data demonstrate a reduction in stormsediment response between 1996 and 2009, but not yet to pre-logging levels. An unmixing model using bed-sediment geochemical data indicates that 49 per cent of the 216 t km-2 a-1 2009 sediment yield comes from 10 per cent of its area affected by road-linked landslides. Fallout 210Pb and 137Cs values from a lateral bench core indicate that sedimentation rates in the 721 km2 Upper Segama catchment less than doubled with initially highly selective, low-slope logging in the 1980s, but rose 7–13 times when steep terrain was logged in 1992–1993 and 1999–2000. The need to keep steeplands under forest is emphasized if landsliding associated with current and predicted rises in extreme rainstorm magnitude-frequency is to be reduced in scale.