Trophic organisation defines the flow of energy through ecosystems and is a key component of community structure. Widespread and intensifying anthropogenic disturbance threatens to disrupt trophic organisation by altering species composition and relative abundances and by driving shifts in the trophic ecology of species that persist in disturbed ecosystems. We examined how intensive disturbance caused by selective logging affects trophic organisation in the biodiversity hotspot of Sabah, Borneo. Using stable nitrogen isotopes, we quantified the positions in the food web of 159 leaf-litter ant species in unlogged and logged rainforest and tested four predictions: (i) there is a negative relationship between the trophic position of a species in unlogged forest and its change in abundance following logging, (ii) the trophic positions of species are altered by logging, (iii) disturbance alters the frequency distribution of trophic positions within the ant assemblage, and (iv) disturbance reduces food chain length. We found that ant abundance was 30% lower in logged forest than in unlogged forest but changes in abundance of individual species were not related to trophic position, providing no support for prediction (i). However, trophic positions of individual species were significantly higher in logged forest, supporting prediction (ii). Consequently, the frequency distribution of trophic positions differed significantly between unlogged and logged forest, supporting prediction (iii), and food chains were 0.2 trophic levels longer in logged forest, the opposite of prediction (iv). Our results demonstrate that disturbance can alter trophic organisation even without trophically-biased changes in community composition. Nonetheless, the absence of any reduction in food chain length in logged forest suggests that species-rich arthropod food webs do not experience trophic downgrading or a related collapse in trophic organisation despite the disturbance caused by logging. These food webs appear able to bend without breaking in the face of some forms of anthropogenic disturbance.
Tropical rainforests are subject to extensive degradation by commercial selective logging. Despite pervasive changes to forest structure, selectively logged forests represent vital refugia for global biodiversity. The ability of these forests to buffer temperature-sensitive species from climate warming will be an important determinant of their future conservation value, although this topic remains largely unexplored. Thermal buffering potential is broadly determined by: (i) the difference between the "macroclimate" (climate at a local scale, m to ha) and the "microclimate" (climate at a fine-scale, mm to m, that is distinct from the macroclimate); (ii) thermal stability of microclimates (e.g. variation in daily temperatures); and (iii) the availability of microclimates to organisms. We compared these metrics in undisturbed primary forest and intensively logged forest on Borneo, using thermal images to capture cool microclimates on the surface of the forest floor, and information from dataloggers placed inside deadwood, tree holes and leaf litter. Although major differences in forest structure remained 9-12 years after repeated selective logging, we found that logging activity had very little effect on thermal buffering, in terms of macroclimate and microclimate temperatures, and the overall availability of microclimates. For 1°C warming in the macroclimate, temperature inside deadwood, tree holes and leaf litter warmed slightly more in primary forest than in logged forest, but the effect amounted to <0.1°C difference between forest types. We therefore conclude that selectively logged forests are similar to primary forests in their potential for thermal buffering, and subsequent ability to retain temperature-sensitive species under climate change. Selectively logged forests can play a crucial role in the long-term maintenance of global biodiversity.
Selective logging is one of the major drivers of tropical forest degradation, causing important shifts in species composition. Whether such changes modify interactions between species and the networks in which they are embedded remain fundamental questions to assess the 'health' and ecosystem functionality of logged forests. We focus on interactions between lianas and their tree hosts within primary and selectively logged forests in the biodiversity hotspot of Malaysian Borneo. We found that lianas were more abundant, had higher species richness, and different species compositions in logged than in primary forests. Logged forests showed heavier liana loads disparately affecting slow-growing tree species, which could exacerbate the loss of timber value and carbon storage already associated with logging. Moreover, simulation scenarios of host tree local species loss indicated that logging might decrease the robustness of liana-tree interaction networks if heavily infested trees (i.e. the most connected ones) were more likely to disappear. This effect is partially mitigated in the short term by the colonization of host trees by a greater diversity of liana species within logged forests, yet this might not compensate for the loss of preferred tree hosts in the long term. As a consequence, species interaction networks may show a lagged response to disturbance, which may trigger sudden collapses in species richness and ecosystem function in response to additional disturbances, representing a new type of 'extinction debt'.
Leaf samples of tropical trees, i.e. Dryobalanops lanceolata (Kapur paji), Dipterocarpaceae and Macaranga spp. (Mahang), Euphorbiaceae were analyzed for 21 chemical elements. The pioneer Macaranga spp. exhibited higher concentrations for the majority of elements compared to the emergent species of Dryobalanops lanceolata, which was attributed to the higher physiological activity of the fast growing pioneer species compared to emergent trees. Lead showed rather high concentrations in several samples from the Bakam re-forestation site. This is suggested to be caused by emissions through brick manufacturing and related activities in the vicinity. A comparison of Dryobalanops lanceolata samples collected in 1993, 1995 and 1997 in the Lambir Hills National Park revealed that certain heavy metals, i.e. Co, Cu, Mn, Ni, Pb and Ti showed higher values in 1997 compared to the previous years, which could indicate an atmospheric input from the haze caused by the extensive forest fires raging in Borneo and other parts of Southeast Asia.
The effects of selective logging on the diversity and species composition of moths were investigated by sampling from multiple sites in primary forest, both understorey and canopy, and logged forest at Danum Valley, Sabah, Malaysia. The diversity of individual sites was similar, although rarefied species richness of logged forest was 17% lower than for primary forest (understorey and canopy combined). There was significant heterogeneity in faunal composition and measures of similarity (NESS index) among primary forest understorey sites which may be as great as those between primary understorey and logged forest. The lowest similarity values were between primary forest understorey and canopy, indicating a distinct canopy fauna. A number of species encountered in the logged forest were confined to, or more abundant in, the canopy of primary forest. Approximately 10% of species were confined to primary forest across a range of species' abundances, suggesting this is a minimum estimate for the number of species lost following logging. The importance of accounting for heterogeneity within primary forest and sampling in the canopy when measuring the effects of disturbance on tropical forest communities are emphasized.
Investigations of land management impacts on hydrology are well developed in South-East Asia, having been greatly extended by national organizations in the last two decades. Regional collaborative efforts, such as the ASEAN-US watershed programme, have helped develop skills and long-running monitoring programmes. Work in different countries is significant for particular aspects: the powerful effects of both cyclones and landsliding in Taiwan, the significance of lahars in Java, of small-scale agriculture in Thailand and plantation establishment in Malaysia. Different aid programmes have contributed specialist knowledge such as British work on reservoir sedimentation, Dutch, Swedish and British work on softwood plantations and US work in hill-tribe agriculture. Much has been achieved through individual university research projects, including PhD and MSc theses. The net result is that for most countries there is now good information on changes in the rainfall-run-off relationship due to forest disturbance or conversion, some information on the impacts on sediment delivery and erosion of hillslopes, but relatively little about the dynamics and magnitude of nutrient losses. Improvements have been made in the ability to model the consequences of forest conversion and of selective logging and exciting prospects exist for the development of better predictions of transfer of water from the hillslopes to the stream channels using techniques such as multilevel modelling. Understanding of the processes involved has advanced through the detailed monitoring made possible at permanent field stations such as that at Danum Valley, Sabah.
Quadrat-based analysis of two rainforest plots of area 50 ha, one in Panama (Barro Colorado Island, BCI) and the other in Malaysia (Pasoh), shows that in both plots recruitment is in general negatively correlated with both numbers and biomass of adult trees of the same species in the same quadrat. At BCI, this effect is not significantly influenced by treefall gaps. In both plots, recruitment of individual species is negatively correlated with the numbers of trees of all species in the quadrats, but not with overall biomass. These observations suggest, but do not prove, widespread frequency-dependent effects produced by pathogens and seed-predators that act most effectively in quadrats crowded with trees. Within-species correlations of mortality with numbers or biomass are not found in either plot, indicating that most frequency-dependent mortality takes place before the trees reach 1 cm in diameter. Stochastic effects caused by BCI's more rapid tree turnover may contribute to a larger variance in diversity from quadrat to quadrat at BCI, although they are not sufficient to explain why BCI has fewer than half as many tree species as Pasoh. Finally, in both plots quadrats with low diversity show a significant increase in diversity over time, and this increase is stronger at BCI. This process, like the frequency-dependence, will tend to maintain diversity over time. In general, these non-random forces that should lead to the maintenance of diversity are slightly stronger at BCI, even though the BCI plot is less diverse than the Pasoh plot.
The effects of logging and recovery process on avian richness and diversity was compared in recently logged and thirty year post-harvested hill dipterocarp tropical rainforest, using mist-netting method. Atotal of 803 bird individuals representing 86 bird species and 29 families (i.e., 37.90% from recently logged forest and 62.10% from thirty year post-harvested forest) were captured from October 2010 to September, 2012. Twenty one bird species were commonly captured from both types of forests, 37 bird species were caught only in thirty year post-harvested forest and 28 bird species were caught only from recently logged forest. Arachnothera longirostra--Little Spiderhunter, Malacopteron magnum--Rufous-crowned Babbler, Alophoixus phaeocephalus -Yellow-bellied Bulbul and Meiglyptes tukki--Buff-necked Woodpecker were the most abundant four bird species in the thirty year post-harvested forest. On the contrary, seven bird species, i.e., Trichastoma rostratum - White-chested Babbler, Lacedo pulchella - Banded Kingfisher, Picus miniaceus--Banded Woodpecker, Enicurus ruficapillus - Chestnut-naped Forktail, Anthreptes simplex--Plain Sunbird, Muscicapella hodgsoni--Pygmy Blue Flycatcher and Otus rufescens--Reddish Scope Owl were considered as the rarest (i.e., each represented only 0.12%). Likewise, A. longirostra, Pycnonotus eythropthalmos - Spectacled Bulbul, P. simplex--Cream-vented Bulbul and Merops viridis--Blue-throated Bee-eater were the most dominant and Copsychus malabaricus--White-rumped Shama Eurylaimus javanicus--Banded Broadbill /xos malaccensis - Streaked Bulbul and Harpactes diardii--Diard's Trogon (each 0.12%) were the rarest bird species in recently logged forest. CAP analysis indicated that avian species in thirty year post-harvested forest were more diverse and evenly distributed than recently logged forest. However, recently logged forest was rich in bird species than thirty year post- harvested forest. The results revealed that logging and retrieval process affect bird species richness and diversity. However, bird species may respond differently from habitat to habitat, i.e., forest logging causes disturbance of some avian species while recovery process may replace the loss of vegetation and harbour a wide array of avian species richness and diversity.
Humans influence tropical rainforest animals directly via exploitation and indirectly via habitat disturbance. Bushmeat hunting and logging occur extensively in tropical forests and have large effects on particular species. But how they alter animal diversity across landscape scales and whether their impacts are correlated across species remain less known. We used spatially widespread measurements of mammal occurrence across Malaysian Borneo and recently developed multispecies hierarchical models to assess the species richness of medium- to large-bodied terrestrial mammals while accounting for imperfect detection of all species. Hunting was associated with 31% lower species richness. Moreover, hunting remained high even where richness was very low, highlighting that hunting pressure persisted even in chronically overhunted areas. Newly logged sites had 11% lower species richness than unlogged sites, but sites logged >10 years previously had richness levels similar to those in old-growth forest. Hunting was a more serious long-term threat than logging for 91% of primate and ungulate species. Hunting and logging impacts across species were not correlated across taxa. Negative impacts of hunting were the greatest for common mammalian species, but commonness versus rarity was not related to species-specific impacts of logging. Direct human impacts appeared highly persistent and lead to defaunation of certain areas. These impacts were particularly severe for species of ecological importance as seed dispersers and herbivores. Indirect impacts were also strong but appeared to attenuate more rapidly than previously thought. The lack of correlation between direct and indirect impacts across species highlights that multifaceted conservation strategies may be needed for mammal conservation in tropical rainforests, Earth's most biodiverse ecosystems.
Agricultural expansion and deforestation are spatial processes of land transformation that impact on landscape pattern. In peninsular Malaysia, the conversion of forested areas into two major cash crops--rubber and oil palm plantations--has been identified as driving significant environmental change. To date, there has been insufficient literature studying the link between changes in landscape patterns and land-related development policies. Therefore, this paper examines: (i) the links between development policies and changes in land use/land cover and landscape pattern and (ii) the significance and implications of these links for future development policies. The objective is to generate insights on the changing process of land use/land cover and landscape pattern as a functional response to development policies and their consequences for environmental conditions. Over the last century, the development of cash crops has changed the country from one dominated by natural landscapes to one dominated by agricultural landscapes. But the last decade of the century saw urbanization beginning to impact significantly. This process aligned with the establishment of various development policies, from land development for agriculture between the mid 1950s and the 1970s to an emphasis on manufacturing from the 1980s onward. Based on a case study in Selangor, peninsular Malaysia, a model of landscape pattern change is presented. It contains three stages according to the relative importance of rubber (first stage: 1900--1950s), oil palm (second stage: 1960s--1970s), and urban (third stage: 1980s--1990s) development that influenced landscape fragmentation and heterogeneity. The environmental consequences of this change have been depicted through loss of biodiversity, geohazard incidences, and the spread of vector-borne diseases. The spatial ecological information can be useful to development policy formulation, allowing diagnosis of the country's "health" and sustainability. The final section outlines the usefulness of landscape analysis in the policy-making process to prevent further fragmentation of the landscape and forest loss in Malaysia in the face of rapid economic development.
Forest growth models are useful tools for investigating the long-term impacts of logging. In this paper, the results of the rain forest growth model FORMIND were assessed by a multicriteria decision analysis. The main processes covered by FORMIND include tree growth, mortality, regeneration and competition. Tree growth is calculated based on a carbon balance approach. Trees compete for light and space; dying large trees fall down and create gaps in the forest. Sixty-four different logging scenarios for an initially undisturbed forest stand at Deramakot (Malaysia) were simulated. The scenarios differ regarding the logging cycle, logging method, cutting limit and logging intensity. We characterise the impacts with four criteria describing the yield, canopy opening and changes in species composition. Multicriteria decision analysis was used for the first time to evaluate the scenarios and identify the efficient ones. Our results plainly show that reduced-impact logging scenarios are more 'efficient' than the others, since in these scenarios forest damage is minimised without significantly reducing yield. Nevertheless, there is a trade-off between yield and achieving a desired ecological state of logged forest; the ecological state of the logged forests can only be improved by reducing yields and enlarging the logging cycles. Our study also demonstrates that high cutting limits or low logging intensities cannot compensate for the high level of damage caused by conventional logging techniques.
Ten years' hydrological investigations at Danum have provided strong evidence of the effects of extremes of drought, as in the April 1992 El Niño southern oscillation event, and flood, as in January 1996. The 1.5 km2 undisturbed forest control catchment experienced a complete drying out of the stream for the whole 1.5 km of defined channel above the gauging station in 1992, but concentrated surface flow along every declivity from within a few metres of the catchment divide after the exceptional rains of 19 January 1996. Under these natural conditions, erosion is episodic. Sediment is discharged in pulses caused by storm events, collapse of debris dams and occasional landslips. Disturbance by logging accentuates this irregular regime. In the first few months following disturbance, a wave of sediment is moved by each storm, but over subsequent years, rare events scour sediment from bare areas, gullies and channel deposits. The spatial distribution of sediment sources changes with time after logging, as bare areas on slopes are revegetated and small gullies are filled with debris. Extreme storm events, as in January 1996, cause logging roads to collapse, with landslides leading to surges of sediment into channels, reactivating the pulsed sediment delivery by every storm that happened immediately after logging. These effects are not dampened out with increasing catchment scale. Even the 721 km2 Sungai Segama has a sediment yield regime dominated by extreme events, the sediment yield in that single day on 19 January 1996 exceeding the annual sediment load in several previous years. In a large disturbed catchment, such road failures and logging-activity-induced mass movements increase the mud and silt in floodwaters affecting settlements downstream. Management systems require long-term sediment reduction strategies. This implies careful road design and good water movement regulation and erosion control throughout the logging process.
Surveys were conducted of adult and immature mosquitoes in an area undergoing oil palm development in north Sarawak. Point prevalence data from 2 sites were collected annually, coinciding with annual phases of forest clearing, burning/cultivation, and maintenance. Major habitat perturbation during the forest/clearing transition shifted the major mosquito faunal equilibrium in terms of species composition, relative density and occurrence. Analyses of variance showed that the mean numbers of 4 species of Anopheles decreased significantly after forest clearing. Relative densities of immature stages decreased after forest clearing, but A. letifer and Culex tritaeniorhynchus remained relatively unchanged after the second year. Comparisons with the pre-development forest stage showed that the reductions in person-biting rates, adult survival and combined entomological inoculation rates (EIR) of A. donaldi and A. letifer decreased the risk of malaria transmission by 90% over the 4 years period. Concomitant reductions in EIR and annual malaria incidence were also correlated. This study highlighted the 'law of unintended consequences', since 2 contrasting effects were observed: reduction of malaria vectors but concomitant increase of dengue vectors.
Strong global demand for tropical timber and agricultural products has driven large-scale logging and subsequent conversion of tropical forests. Given that the majority of tropical landscapes have been or will likely be logged, the protection of biodiversity within tropical forests thus depends on whether species can persist in these economically exploited lands, and if species cannot persist, whether we can protect enough primary forest from logging and conversion. However, our knowledge of the impact of logging and conversion on biodiversity is limited to a few taxa, often sampled in different locations with complex land-use histories, hampering attempts to plan cost-effective conservation strategies and to draw conclusions across taxa. Spanning a land-use gradient of primary forest, once- and twice-logged forests, and oil palm plantations, we used traditional sampling and DNA metabarcoding to compile an extensive data set in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo for nine vertebrate and invertebrate taxa to quantify the biological impacts of logging and oil palm, develop cost-effective methods of protecting biodiversity, and examine whether there is congruence in response among taxa. Logged forests retained high species richness, including, on average, 70% of species found in primary forest. In contrast, conversion to oil palm dramatically reduces species richness, with significantly fewer primary-forest species than found on logged forest transects for seven taxa. Using a systematic conservation planning analysis, we show that efficient protection of primary-forest species is achieved with land portfolios that include a large proportion of logged-forest plots. Protecting logged forests is thus a cost-effective method of protecting an ecologically and taxonomically diverse range of species, particularly when conservation budgets are limited. Six indicator groups (birds, leaf-litter ants, beetles, aerial hymenopterans, flies, and true bugs) proved to be consistently good predictors of the response of the other taxa to logging and oil palm. Our results confidently establish the high conservation value of logged forests and the low value of oil palm. Cross-taxon congruence in responses to disturbance also suggests that the practice of focusing on key indicator taxa yields important information of general biodiversity in studies of logging and oil palm.
Community resistance to, and resilience from, perturbation will determine the trajectory of recovery from disturbance. Although selective timber extraction is considered a severe disturbance, fish communities from headwater streams around Danum Valley Field Centre, Sabah, Malaysia, showed few long-term changes in species composition or abundance. However, some species showed short-term (< 18 months) absence or decrease in abundance. These observations suggested that both resistance and resilience were important in maintaining long-term fish community structure. Resistance to perturbation was tested by monitoring fish communities before and after the creation of log-debris dams, while resilience was investigated by following the time-course of recolonization following complete removal of all fish. High community resistance was generally shown although the response was site-specific, dependent on the composition of the starting community, the size of the stream and physical habitat changes. High resilience was demonstrated in all recolonization experiments with strong correlations between pre- and post-defaunation communities, although there was a significant difference between pool and riffle habitats in the time-course of recovery. These differences can be explained by the movement characteristics of the species found in the different habitats. Resilience appeared to be a more predictable characteristic of the community than resistance and the implications of this for ensuring the long-term persistence of fish in the area are discussed.
The proliferation of camera-trapping studies has led to a spate of extensions in the known distributions of many wild cat species, not least in Borneo. However, we still do not have a clear picture of the spatial patterns of felid abundance in Southeast Asia, particularly with respect to the large areas of highly-disturbed habitat. An important obstacle to increasing the usefulness of camera trap data is the widespread practice of setting cameras at non-random locations. Non-random deployment interacts with non-random space-use by animals, causing biases in our inferences about relative abundance from detection frequencies alone. This may be a particular problem if surveys do not adequately sample the full range of habitat features present in a study region. Using camera-trapping records and incidental sightings from the Kalabakan Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, we aimed to assess the relative abundance of felid species in highly-disturbed forest, as well as investigate felid space-use and the potential for biases resulting from non-random sampling. Although the area has been intensively logged over three decades, it was found to still retain the full complement of Bornean felids, including the bay cat Pardofelis badia, a poorly known Bornean endemic. Camera-trapping using strictly random locations detected four of the five Bornean felid species and revealed inter- and intra-specific differences in space-use. We compare our results with an extensive dataset of >1,200 felid records from previous camera-trapping studies and show that the relative abundance of the bay cat, in particular, may have previously been underestimated due to the use of non-random survey locations. Further surveys for this species using random locations will be crucial in determining its conservation status. We advocate the more wide-spread use of random survey locations in future camera-trapping surveys in order to increase the robustness and generality of inferences that can be made.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are increased remarkably from year to year and the estimated global area cultivated with genetically modified (GM) crops reached 125 million hectares in year 2008. However, insect resistance maize based on Bacillus thuringienses (Bt) is of the most cultivated GM crop in worldwide. Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is an aerobic, gram-positive bacterium that synthesize one or more Cry protein that are toxic to various types crop and forestry insects pests. To date, several cry genes have been introduced into GM plant to combat with various type of insect. Worldwide commercialization of GM crops has raised the customers’ concern about the Biosafety issues, and thus, many countries have implemented the labeling legislations for GM food and their derivatives. In this study, we introduced the quantitative analysis method based on the recombinant plasmid DNA as calibrators that can be used to determine the percentage of GMO content in various types of food and feed samples. Therefore, we have reported 7.5% (6/80) of the samples were contained StarLink maize and 1.25% (1/80) samples were contained Bt176 maize. Additionally, the percentage of GM content in each positive sample were further determined with the developed quantitative method. The percentage of the StarLink corns that present in the positive samples were varies from 0.09% to 2.53% and Bt176 corn that present in the positive sample was 16.90%. The present study demonstrated that the recombinant plasmid DNA that used in quantitative real-time method as good alternative quantitative analysis of GM content.