Although palms are the most commonly harvested tree family in the world, they are susceptible to overexploitation, and many harvest schemes are not sustainable. We assessed the impact of leaf harvesting of the Asian palm, Livistona rotundifolia, in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, to determine the effect of harvest intensity on subsequent growth and to determine if current harvest practices are ecologically sustainable. We conducted experimental harvests of two intensities and compared results with a control. Leaf emergence, expansion, opening, and maturation were monitored for 1 year. Leaves in heavy and light harvest treatments grew and opened significantly faster than control leaves. Final leaf size was a function of harvest intensity: control leaves were larger (4.06 m) than light‐harvest leaves (3.62 m) and heavy‐harvest leaves (2.62 m). Census results for palms in harvested and unharvested areas indicated that palm density was twice as high and reproductive‐sized palms were 10 times more common in the unharvested area. We judged current harvest practices to be nonsustainable. Recommendations for sustainable harvesting include reduction of harvest intensity and waste and preservation of reproductive‐sized palms.
Conservation Biology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 1996
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