Proceedings International Symposium "The stability of tropical rainforest margins - linking ecological, economic and social constraints of land use and conservation"


This proceeding volume results from the submitted abstracts of the international symposium “The Stability of Rainforest Margins: Linking Ecological, Economic and Social Constraints” held on September 19 – 23, 2005 in Göttingen, Germany. Tropical rainforests disappear at an alarming rate causing unprecedented losses in biodiversity and ecosystem services. Rainforests are hot spots of biodiversity as well as important carbon sinks. Despite an increased recognition of the value of these and other valuable public goods provided by tropical rainforests at national and international levels, the rainforests of Asia, Africa, Australia and Latin America continue to be seriously threatened by various forms of human encroachment. The analysis of policies and socio-economic and ecological determinants that either stabilize or threaten tropical forest margins requires a holistic interdisciplinary scientific approach. Such an approach has been adopted by a large scale research program titled “Stability of Rainforest Margins in Indonesia” ( This research program started in 2000 and is jointly conducted by the two German Universities, the Georg-August-University of Göttingen (GAUG) and the University of Kassel (UNIK), and by two Indonesian Universities, the Agricultural University of Bogor (Institut Pertanian Bogor, IPB) and the Tadulako University (UNTAD) in Palu. Referring to the main research foci of STORMA, the symposium features three interconnected thematic foci of interdisciplinary research. They refer to changes in the extent and intensity of agricultural and forest land use in tropical forest margins and their implications for rural development and for conservation of natural resources such as biodiversity, soils and water. The first focus “Integrated spatial modeling of land use in tropical forest margins” concerns rain forest margins around the world which comprise a variety of landuse systems, with forest gardens, annual crops in slash-and-burn and agroforestry systems, as well as intensive cultivation, mostly in the valleys. An understanding of the dynamics of land-use change and related resource degradation under various policies scenarios is required, and strategies to reduce and potentially reverse degradation processes are to be developed. The second focus “Sustainable management of agroforestry systems” concerns lowintensity agroforestry which may support high biodiversity stabilizing ecosystem functioning, in particular when shaded by natural trees and neighboured by natural forest. In contrast, high-intensity agroforestry with planted shade trees and in an agricultural landscape context may be characterized by less environmental benefits and high agrochemical inputs. In this focus, the ecological and socio-economic benefits of different management practices will be compared and related to patterns and processes in natural forests. The third focus “Ecological and socio-economic impacts of different forest-use intensities” analyzes ecological and socio-economic benefits and costs across different types of forest use. The consequences of low- and medium-intensity forest-use practices, such as selective timber and rattan extraction, for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are assessed. We are grateful to our sponsors, namely the German Research Council (DFG), the Georg-August-University Göttingen and the University of Kassel. Our special Thanks goes to the Universities Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) and Tadulako University (UNTAD) in Palu for their cooperation in the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 552) “Stability of Rainforest Margins in Indonesia” (STORMA).
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