Biodiversity observation for land and ecosystem health (BOLEH): A robust method to evaluate the management impacts on the bundle of carbon and biodiversity ecosystem services in tropical production forests
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) has initiated a new sustainability mechanism, the ecosystem-services certification. In this system, management entities who wish to be certified for the maintenance of ecosystem services (carbon, biodiversity, watershed, soil and recreational services) must verify that their activities have no net negative impacts on selected ecosystem service(s). Developing a robust and cost-effective measurement method is a key challenge for establishing a credible certification system. Using a single method to evaluate a bundle of ecosystem services will be more efficient in terms of transaction costs than using multiple methods. We tested the efficiency of a single method, "biodiversity observation for land and ecosystem health (BOLEH)", to simultaneously evaluate biodiversity and carbon density on a landscape scale in FSC-certified tropical production forests in Sabah, Malaysia. In this method, forest intactness based on the tree-generic compositional similarity with that of a pristine forest was used as an index of biodiversity. We repeated BOLEH in 2009 and 2014 in these forests. Our analysis could detect significant spatiotemporal changes in both carbon and forest intactness during these five years, which reflected past logging intensities and current management regimes in these forests. Enhancement of these ecosystem services occurred in the forest where sustainable management with reduced-impact logging had long been implemented. In this paper, we describe the procedure of the BOLEH method, and results of the pilot test in these forests.