Walsh, R.P.D., Bidin, K., Blake, W.H., Chappell, N.A., Clarke, M.A., Douglas, I., Ghazali, R., Sayer, A.M., Suhaimi, J., Tych, W. and Annammala, K.V. 2011. Longer-term responses of rainforest erosional systems at different spatial scales to selective logging and climatic change. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B., 366, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0054

 

Abstract

Long-term (2130 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 19902010 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 19941996 landslides. Analysis and modelling of 515 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 713 times when steep terrain was logged in 19921993 and 19992000. 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.


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