Integrating a REDD+ Project into the management of a production mangrove forest in Matang Forest Reserve, Malaysia

Abdul Aziz, Ammar (2015). Integrating a REDD+ Project into the management of a production mangrove forest in Matang Forest Reserve, Malaysia PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.428

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Author Abdul Aziz, Ammar
Thesis Title Integrating a REDD+ Project into the management of a production mangrove forest in Matang Forest Reserve, Malaysia
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.428
Publication date 2015-03-11
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Paul Dargusch
Stuart Phinn
Total pages 242
Language eng
Subjects 0705 Forestry Sciences
0502 Environmental Science and Management
1499 Other Economics
Formatted abstract
Whilst much attention has recently been given in the policy and scientific literature to the theoretical opportunities that REDD+ and blue carbon initiatives can potentially provide for sustainable mangrove forest management, little attention has been paid to the practicalities of how carbon payments for conservation can be best balanced with other somewhat conflicting forest use activities, such as wood production. This thesis explores these gaps in the literature by analysing the integration of a hypothetical REDD+ pilot project into the management planning of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve in Malaysia.

The Matang Mangrove Forest reserve covers 40,466 ha and has been managed for more than a century primarily for the extraction of wood for the production of poles and charcoal. The forest reserve has often been referred to as a fine example of sustainable forest management. In recent years, evidence has emerged of the decline of multiple ecosystem services in the Matang forest reserve area. The premise to this thesis is that something should be done to arrest the decline of ecosystem health in the reserve. The thesis explores whether carbon payments can be used to protect areas within the reserve from harvesting for wood production and thereby support the recovery and improved health of the ecosystem, and at the same time, support income for the forest owners and livelihood activities (particularly through wood production) for local communities.

The thesis begins by reviewing the potential benefits and common problems associated with integrating a REDD+ pilot project in a mangrove forest such as the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve. The suitability of remotely-sensed data obtained from Landsat imaging sensors, in combination with ancillary forest inventory data, is then assessed for planning and management in a production mangrove forest. Different techniques for the spatial analysis of the ecological features of a mangrove forest are tested, evaluated and presented. The techniques include both pixel-based and object-based approaches. The object-based approach accurately delineated between commercial and non-commercial mangrove species. More importantly, it also produced a reliable and accurate stand-age structure map based on three designated classes: clear-felled areas; young mangrove forest (less than 13 years old); and mature mangrove forest (13 years or older).

The technique was then applied to assess the impact of the silvicultural practices employed in the Matang forest reserve on the provision of the critical ecosystem services. The spatiotemporal changes in the distribution of the stand age composition and structure over a 35 year period was analysed. Results revealed a relatively stable composition of clear felled areas, young and mature mangrove forests throughout the observation period – an indication of good area and composition governance by the Matang reserve managers (the State Forestry Department of Perak). However, the results of the ecosystem services assessment revealed that the reserve greenwood yield, the production of blood cockles and the habitat of migratory birds had shown varying forms and degrees of deterioration. The potential impact of the observed changes derived from the classified images to the data obtained from the ecosystem services assessment was then analysed.

Finally, the assessment was extended to include ecosystem service and stakeholder identification, ecosystem mapping, ecosystem and stakeholder analysis, and an opportunity cost analysis. The combination of analysis was conducted to encapsulate findings from the previous chapters and to provide a comprehensive feasibility study on the proposed integration of a REDD+ project in the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve from multiple perspectives; ecological, financial and economic.

The results presented in the thesis demonstrate that the management of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve could derive positive ecological, financial and economic benefits from the implementation of a REDD+ project. The thesis provides an insight into how carbon payments and wood production could be integrated in the management of a mangrove forest to achieve more sustainable outcomes, and better balance community livelihood needs and the health of multiple ecosystem services. At the national and regional scale, this thesis contributes useful information to help the Malaysian Government achieve its aspiration of reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent per GDP by 2020. At a more local scale, this research offers some critical evidence which could assist the managers of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve to refine and improve their management planning to achieve more sustainable outcomes.
Keyword Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve
Ecosystem services
Blue carbon
Remote sensing
Opportunity cost analysis
Object based image analysis
Carbon stock
Payment for ecosystem services

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Created: Wed, 11 Mar 2015, 21:29:04 EST by Ammar Abdul Aziz on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service