Mammalian biodiversity in logged tropical rainforest in Malaysian Borneo

In the last decades Malaysian Borneo experienced the highest rates of rainforest loss and degradation through unsustainable logging. We study how faunal biodiversity is affected by this and try to contribute to a more sustainable management of the currently used concessions.

Project details
Duration: since 07/2007
Third-party funded: yes
Involved Department(s): Dept Ecological Dynamics
Leibniz-IZW Project Leader(s): Andreas Wilting (Dept Ecological Dynamics)
Leibniz-IZW Project Team: Azlan bin MohamedAndrew Tilker, Roshan GuharajanThanh Nguyen, Seth Wong, An Nguyen (all: Dept Ecological Dynamics)
Consortium Partner(s): Sabah Forestry Department, Forest Research Centre, Ta Ann Holdings Berhad, World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Malaysia
Current Funding Organisation: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Panthera, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, Point Defiance Zoo Society, Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, International Association for Bear Research and Management
Research Foci: Understanding the environmental context
Improving population viability
Developing theories, methods, and tools


The rapid loss and degradation of tropical rainforests is threatening biodiversity. In the last decades Malaysian Borneo experienced the highest rates of rainforest loss and degradation through unsustainable logging.

Since 2008, we work in the Deramakot Forest Reserve, a FSC certified well managed logging concession in Sabah, to investigate the impacts of reduced impact logging on mammalian communities at different spatial and temporal scales. In addition, we use systematic large-scale camera-trapping to monitor mammalian communities over time in conventionally logged forest sites in various stages of recovery.

Since 2017, we have also surveyed mixed-use forests (natural forest management with industrial tree plantation) in two logging concessions in Sarawak. Our landscape scale systematic surveys provide rigorous biodiversity assessments that allow us to monitor species-specific and community-wide trends over time. As a significant proportion of the rainforests in Malaysian Borneo are classified as production forest reserves, our research can contribute to the more sustainable management of these concessions, particularly in minimizing impacts of logging on mammal occurrence. As such, we collaborate closely with local stakeholders and engage with decision makers in order to integrate our data and results directly into the forest management.

Selected Publications

Mohamed A, Sollmann R, Wong ST, Niedballa J, Abrams JF, Kissing J, Wilting A (im Druck): Counting sunda clouded leopards with confidence: Incorporating individual heterogeneity in density estimates. ORYX, 1-10. doi:10.1017/S0030605318001503.

Wong ST, Belant JL, Sollmann R, Mohamed A, Niedballa J, Mathai J, Meijaard E, Street GM, Kissing J, Mannan S, Wilting A (2018): Habitat associations of the Sunda stink-badger Mydaus javanensis in three forest reserves in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. MAMM BIOL 88, 75-80. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2017.11.010.

Brozovic R, Abrams JF, Mohamed A, Wong ST, Niedballa J, Bhagwat T, Sollmann R, Mannan S, Kissing J, Wilting A (2018): Effects of forest degradation on the moonrat Echinosorex gymnura in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. MAMM BIOL 93, 135-143. doi:10.1016/j.mambio.2018.10.003.

Sollmann R, Mohamed A, Niedballa J, Bender J, Ambu L, Langan P, Mannan S, Ong RC, Langner A, Gardner B, Wilting A (2017): Quantifying mammal biodiversity co‐benefits in certified tropical forests. DIVERS DISTR 23, 317-328. doi:10.1111/ddi.12530.

Struebig MJ, Wilting A, Gaveau D, Meijaard E, Smith RJ, The Borneo Mammal and Modelling Consortium (IZW co-authors: Heckmann I, Hofer H, Lindenborn J, Niedballa J, Reinfelder V, Reusch C, Scharf AK), Fischer M, Metcalfe K, Kramer-Schadt S (2015): Targeted Conservation to Safeguard a Biodiversity Hotspot from Climate and Land-Cover Change. CURR BIOL 25, 372-378. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.067.