Erik Meijaard

Erik Meijaard
Borneo Futures, Brunei · Affiliated with the University of Queensland and Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology Univ. of Kent. IUCN Oil Crops Task Force

Doctor of Philosophy

About

668
Publications
470,247
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14,577
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Introduction
I study forest and wildlife management, from the basics of taxonomy, genetics, and ecology, to land use economics, conservation planning, and policy. I put science into practice by working with companies to improve their conservation planning and management, advising governments, and seeking ways to involve rural and urban communities in conservation solutions. Current focus on vegetable oil production and sustainability. Based in Brunei and Crete.
Additional affiliations
June 2015 - December 2015
Independent Researcher
Position
  • Independent Reseacher
January 2013 - present
The University of Queensland
January 2012 - present
University of California, Davis

Publications

Publications (668)
Preprint
Full-text available
Much concern about tropical deforestation focuses on oil palm plantations, but their impacts remain poorly quantified. Using satellites, we estimated annual expansion of large-scale (industrial) and smallholder oil palm plantations and their overlap with forest loss from 2001 to 2019 in Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer. Over ninetee...
Article
The rich forests of Indonesian New Guinea are understudied and threatened. We used satellite data to examine annual forest loss, road development and plantation expansion from 2001 to 2019, then developed a model to predict future deforestation. No previous studies have attempted such a detailed assessment of past and future deforestation. In 2019,...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Comprehensive, global information on species' occurrences is an essential biodiversity variable and central to a range of applications in ecology, evolution, biogeography and conservation. Expert range maps often represent a species' only available distributional information and play an increasing role in conservation assessments and macroeco...
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Research in the field of sustainable and healthy nutrition is calling for the application of the latest advances in seemingly unrelated domains such as complex systems and network sciences on the one hand and big data and artificial intelligence on the other. This is because the confluence of these fields, whose methodologies have experienced explo...
Article
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Dietary fats are essential ingredients of a healthy diet. Their production, however, impacts the environment and its capacity to sustain us. Growing knowledge across multiple disciplines improves our understanding of links between food, health and sustainability, but increases apparent complexity. Whereas past dietary guidelines placed limits on to...
Article
Assessing where wildlife populations are at risk from future habitat loss is particularly important for land-use planning and avoiding biodiversity declines. Combining projections of future deforestation with species density information provides an improved way to anticipate such declines. Using the critically endangered Bornean orangutan (Pongo py...
Article
Full-text available
Much concern about tropical deforestation focuses on oil palm plantations, but their impacts remain poorly quantified. Using nation-wide interpretation of satellite imagery, and sample-based error calibration, we estimated the impact of large-scale (industrial) and smallholder oil palm plantations on natural old-growth (“primary”) forests from 2001...
Article
Conservation strategies are rarely systematically evaluated, which reduces transparency, hinders the cost-effective deployment of resources, and hides what works best in different contexts. Using data on the iconic and critically endangered orangutan (Pongo spp.), we developed a novel spatiotemporal framework for evaluating conservation investments...
Article
Full-text available
Critically Endangered orangutans are translocated in several situations: reintroduced into historic range where no wild populations exist, released to reinforce existing wild populations, and wild-to-wild translocated to remove individuals from potentially risky situations. Translocated orangutans exposed to human diseases, including Coronavirus Di...
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Context Agricultural expansion is a leading cause of deforestation and habitat fragmentation globally. Policies that support biodiversity and facilitate species movement across farmland are therefore central to sustainability efforts and wildlife conservation in these human-modified landscapes. Objectives We investigated the conservation impact of...
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Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
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Full-text available
Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
Article
Full-text available
Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
Article
Full-text available
Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a “Green List of Species” (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species’ progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
Article
Full-text available
Recognizing the imperative to evaluate species recovery and conservation impact, in 2012 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) called for development of a "Green List of Species" (now the IUCN Green Status of Species). A draft Green Status framework for assessing species' progress toward recovery, published in 2018, proposed 2 s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Assessing where wildlife populations are at risk from future habitat loss is particularly important for land-use planning and avoiding biodiversity declines. Combining projections of future deforestation with species density information provides an improved way to anticipate such declines. Using the endemic and critically endangered Bornean orangut...
Article
Article impact statement: : Conservationists, mindful of perils of procrastination, should not wait for in situ actions to fail before considering ex situ solutions.
Article
Full-text available
Oil seed crops, especially oil palm, are among the most rapidly expanding agricultural land uses, and their expansion is known to cause significant environmental damage. Accordingly, these crops often feature in public and policy debates which are hampered or biased by a lack of accurate information on environmental impacts. In particular, the lack...
Preprint
Full-text available
The rich forests of Indonesian New Guinea are threatened. We used satellite data to examine annual forest loss, road development and plantation expansion from 2001 to 2019, then developed a model to predict future deforestation in this understudied region. In 2019, 34.29 million hectares (Mha), or 83% of Indonesian New Guinea, supported old-growth...
Article
Full-text available
Historically, orangutans ( Pongo spp.) lived in large contiguous areas of intact rainforest. Today, they are also found in highly modified and fragmented landscapes dominated by oil palm or industrial timber plantations; a situation that calls for new conservation approaches. Here we report signs of orangutan presence in more than 120 small forest...
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Full-text available
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil has emerged as the leading sustainability certification system to tackle socioenvironmental issues associated with the oil palm industry. However, the effectiveness of certification by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in achieving its socioeconomic objectives remains uncertain. We evaluate the impact of...
Article
Full-text available
The Tapanuli Orangutan (Pongo tapanuliensis) is the most threatened great ape species in the world. It is restricted to an area of about 1,000 km 2 of upland forest where fewer than 800 animals survive in three declining subpopulations. Through a historical ecology approach involving analysis of newspaper, journals, books and museum records from th...
Article
Full-text available
The Tapanuli Orangutan ( Pongo tapanuliensis ) is the most threatened great ape species in the world. It is restricted to an area of about 1,000 km ² of upland forest where fewer than 800 animals survive in three declining subpopulations. Through a historical ecology approach involving analysis of newspaper, journals, books and museum records from...
Article
Using data on the iconic orangutan (Pongo spp.), we developed a novel spatiotemporal framework for evaluating conservation investments. We show that around USD 1 billion was invested between 1999 and 2019 into orangutan conservation by governments, non-governmental organizations, companies and communities. Broken down by allocation to different con...
Chapter
A native from western Africa, oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is among the more extensively planted tropical plants. It produces more oil per unit area than any other vegetable oil crop. This oil is also cheap compared to alternatives. Widespread planting has been at the expense of other tropical vegetation, notably including species-rich tropical rai...
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Full-text available
The spread of the most recent African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak in Asia since late 2018 poses a significant threat to endemic pig species and socioeconomic security. Within domestic pigs and free‐living Eurasian wild boars (both Sus scrofa) in Asia, ASF causes almost 100% case fatality. The ongoing ASF epidemic has so far caused the death of over...
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Delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) requires balancing demands on land between agriculture (SDG 2) and biodiversity (SDG 15). The production of vegetable oils and, in particular, palm oil, illustrates these competing demands and trade-offs. Palm oil accounts for ~40% of the current global annual demand for vegetable oil as food, ani...
Article
Full-text available
Aichi Target 12 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) contains the aim to ‘prevent extinctions of known threatened species’. To measure the degree to which this was achieved, we used expert elicitation to estimate the number of bird and mammal species whose extinctions were prevented by conservation action in 1993–2020 (the lifetime of th...
Article
Governance of the environment and natural resources involves interests of multiple stakeholders at different scales. In community-based forest management, organisations outside of communities play important roles in achieving multiple social and ecological objectives. How and when these organisations play a role in the community-based forest manage...
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Participatory approaches to forest management have been promoted as a means of returning rights historically removed, and as a way of managing natural resources sustainably, fairly, and to improve livelihoods in communities. Top-down models of community-based forest management take the perspective that if people feel ownership over, have a voice in...
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Threats to biodiversity are well documented. However, to effectively conserve species and their habitats, we need to know which conservation interventions do (or do not) work. Evidence-based conservation evaluates interventions within a scientific framework. The Conservation Evidence project has summarized thousands of studies testing conservation...
Preprint
Full-text available
Oil seed crops, especially oil palm, are among the most rapidly expanding agricultural land uses, and their expansion is known to cause significant environmental damage. Accordingly, these crops often feature in public and policy debates, which are hampered or biased by a lack of accurate information on environmental impacts. In particular, the lac...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Tapanuli orangutan ( Pongo tapanuliensis ) is the most threatened great ape species in the world. It is restricted to an area of about 1,000 km 2 of mostly hill forest where fewer than 800 animals survive in three declining subpopulations. Through a historical ecology approach involving analysis of colonial-era and other literature, we demonstr...
Preprint
Full-text available
The endemic Bornean tufted ground squirrel, Rheithrosciurus macrotis , has attracted great interest among biologists and the public recently. Nevertheless, we lack information on the most basic aspects of its biology. Here we present the first empirical data on the feeding ecology of tufted ground squirrels, and use data from 81 sympatric mammalian...
Article
Full-text available
Both deforestation and El Niño events influence Borneo’s climate, but their interaction is not well understood. Borneo’s native forest cover decreased by 37.1% between 1980 and 2015 with large areas being replaced by oil palm and a mosaic of plantations and regrowth vegetation. The island is also affected by El Niño events, resulting in severe drou...
Article
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The increasing extent and frequency of fires globally requires nuanced understanding of the drivers of large-scale events for improved prevention and mitigation. Yet, the drivers of fires are often poorly understood by various stakeholders in spatially expansive and temporally dynamic landscapes. Further, perceptions about the main cause of fires v...
Article
Full-text available
Both deforestation and El Niño events influence Borneo's climate, but their interaction is not well understood. Borneo's native forest cover decreased by 37.1% between 1980 and 2015 with large areas being replaced by oil palm and a mosaic of plantations and regrowth vegetation. The island is also affected by El Niño events, resulting in severe drou...
Article
Full-text available
The White Wagtail Motacilla alba is a common winter visitor and passage migrant to most of mainland South-East Asia (Robson 2008). Although long known as a regular passage migrant to northern Borneo (Smythies 1957), a scarce winter visitor to the Malay Peninsula including Singapore (Medway & Wells 1976), and a rare to locally common winter visitor...
Article
No human activity has changed our world more than agriculture. Population growth and increased demand for food, feed for livestock and biofuel mean that crops and pasturelands now cover over 40% of the Earth’s land [1], with negative impacts on our climate and biodiversity. Accordingly, concerned consumers increasingly favor products with low envir...
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Selama lebih dari 50 tahun, orangutan Borneo (Pongo pygmaeus) yang Terancam Kritis telah diselamatkan dari pemburu liar atau penangkap, direhabilitasi, dan dilepaskan ke habitat alami. Orangutan liar juga dipindahkan-secara sengaja ditangkap dari petak-petak habitat dan situasi yang tidak aman dengan tujuan untuk melepaskan mereka kembali ke area y...
Preprint
Full-text available
Orangutans (Pongo spp.) occur at low densities and therefore large areas are necessary to sustain viable metapopulations, defined here as sets of conspecific units of individuals linked by dispersal. Historically, orangutans lived in large contiguous areas of intact rainforest, but are now increasingly found in agricultural and other landscapes mod...
Article
Full-text available
There is limited knowledge of the mechanisms that can inspire people's concern and engagement in the protection of unpopular and unappealing species. We analyzed Polish people's interest in themed internet memes featuring the proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) and the consequences of this interest for conservation marketing We examined Google Tren...
Article
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For more than 50 years, Critically Endangered Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) have been rescued from poachers or captors, rehabilitated, and released into natural habitats. Wild orangutans are also translocated—intentionally captured from habitat patches and insecure situations for the purpose of releasing them into areas considered to be safer...
Article
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Many tropical countries continue to devolve forest management to forest-dwelling communities. The assumption is that local knowledge of forests and community engagement in forest management will attain multiple social and environmental co-benefits, such as poverty alleviation and reduced deforestation and fires. Evidence for this, however, is scant...
Article
The persistence of endangered species may depend on the fate of a very small number of individual animals. In situ conservation alone may sometimes be insufficient. In these instances, the International Union for Conservation of Nature provides guidelines for ex situ conservation and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) indicates how ex sit...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aichi Target 12 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) aims to 'prevent extinctions of known threatened species'. To measure its success, we used a Delphi expert elicitation method to estimate the number of bird and mammal species whose extinctions were prevented by conservation action in 1993 - 2020 (the lifetime of the CBD) and 2010 - 20...
Preprint
Consumption has consequences, and conscientious consumers increasingly seek sound guidance to reduce their impact. Objective guidance is, however, rarely available. A case in point is coconut production which is generally considered to have low environmental impact. We demonstrate that for one impact measure of all major oil crops —threatened speci...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has emerged as the world’s largest sustainability standard to tackle social and environmental issues associated with the oil palm industry. To date, however, the effectiveness of RSPO certification remains uncertain, especially for socio-economic objectives. Here we evaluate the impact of certification...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract Interactions between conservation and the social sciences are frequently characterized by either critique (of conservation by social scientists) or co‐optation (of social scientific methods and insights by conservationists). This article seeks to push beyond these two dominant positions by exploring how conservationists and social scientis...