Lessons learned from the implementation of reduced-impact logging in hilly terrain in Sabah, Malaysia

Michelle A. Pinard*, Francis E. Putz, John Tay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Between 1992 and 1997, about 2400 ha of old growth dipterocarp forest in southeastern Sabah was logged according to reduced-impact logging (RIL) guidelines as part of a pilot carbon offset project. Harvest planning, vine cutting, directional felling, and skidding restrictions contributed to a reduction in stand damage from 50% to 28% of the original stems; damage to soil was reduced from 13% to 9% of total area in RIL relative to conventional logging areas. Residual stands in RIL areas had greater vertical structure and better stocking of commercial timber species than stands in conventionally logged areas, with positive gains for conservation of biodiversity and sustainability of timber production. Steep terrain and the lack of predictable dry periods were constraints on the ground-based skidding system, and resulted in large volumes of timber being inaccessible, and in production delays caused by wet weather. Introduction of an aerial yarding system in this region would allow a greater proportion of the areas to be harvested in an environmentally acceptable way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Forestry Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2000


  • Logging damage
  • Soil disturbance
  • Steep slopes
  • Stocking
  • Wet weather shutdowns


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