Recovery of forest structure and spectral properties after selective logging in lowland Bolivia

Eben N. Broadbent, Daniel J. Zarin, Gregory P. Asner, Marielos Peña-Claros, Amanda Cooper, Ramon Littell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Effective monitoring of selective logging from remotely sensed data requires an understanding of the spatial and temporal thresholds that constrain the utility of those data, as well as the structural and ecological characteristics of forest disturbances that are responsible for those constraints. Here we assess those thresholds and characteristics within the context of selective logging in the Bolivian Amazon. Our study combined field measurements of the spatial and temporal dynamics of felling gaps and skid trails ranging from <1 to 19 months following reduced-impact logging in a forest in lowland Bolivia with remote-sensing measurements from simultaneous monthly ASTER satellite overpasses. A probabilistic spectral mixture model (AutoMCU) was used to derive per-pixel fractional cover estimates of photosynthetic vegetation (PV), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV), and soil. Results were compared with the normalized difference in vegetation index (NDVI). The forest studied had considerably lower basal area and harvest volumes than logged sites in the Brazilian Amazon where similar remote-sensing analyses have been performed. Nonetheless, individual felling-gap area was positively correlated with canopy openness, percentage liana coverage, rates of vegetation regrowth, and height of remnant NPV. Both liana growth and NPV occurred primarily in the crown zone of the felling gap, whereas exposed soil was limited to the trunk zone of the gap. In felling gaps >400 m2, NDVI, and the PV and NPV fractions, were distinguishable from unlogged forest values for up to six months after logging; felling gaps <400 m2 were distinguishable for up to three months after harvest, but we were entirely unable to distinguish skid trails from our analysis of the spectral data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1148-1163
Number of pages16
JournalEcological Applications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Bolivian Amazon
  • Felling gaps
  • Forest disturbance
  • Forest structure
  • NDVI
  • Remote-sensing monitoring
  • Selective logging
  • Skid trails
  • Spectral mixture analysis
  • Timber harvest
  • Tropical forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology


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