The extent of Dipterocarp rainforests on the emergent Sundaland landmass in Southeast Asia during Quaternary glaciations remains a key question. A better understanding of the biogeographic history of Sundaland could help explain current patterns of biodiversity and support the development of effective forest conservation strategies. Dipterocarpaceae trees dominate the rainforests of Sundaland, and their distributions serve as a proxy for rainforest extent. We used species distribution models (SDMs) of 317 Dipterocarp species to estimate the geographic extent of appropriate climatic conditions for rainforest on Sundaland at the last glacial maximum (LGM). The SDMs suggest that the climate of central Sundaland at the LGM was suitable to sustain Dipterocarp rainforest, and that the presence of a previously suggested transequatorial savannah corridor at that time is unlikely. Our findings are supported by palynologic evidence, dynamic vegetation models, extant mammal and termite communities, vascular plant fatty acid stable isotopic compositions, and stable carbon isotopic compositions of cave guano profiles. Although Dipterocarp species richness was generally lower at the LGM, areas of high species richness were mostly found off the current islands and on the emergent Sunda Shelf, indicating substantial species migration and mixing during the transitions between the Quaternary glacial maxima and warm periods such as the present.
Regional estimates of VOC fluxes focus largely on emissions from the canopy and omit potential contributions from the forest floor including soil, litter and understorey vegetation. Here, we measured monoterpene emissions every 2 months over 2 years from logged tropical forest and oil palm plantation floor in Malaysian Borneo using static flux chambers. The main emitted monoterpenes were α-pinene, β-pinene and d-limonene. The amount of litter present was the strongest indicator for higher monoterpene fluxes. Mean α-pinene fluxes were around 2.5-3.5 μg C m-2 h-1 from the forest floor with occasional fluxes exceeding 100 μg C m-2 h-1. Fluxes from the oil palm plantation, where hardly any litter was present, were lower (on average 0.5-2.9 μg C m-2 h-1) and only higher when litter was present. All other measured monoterpenes were emitted at lower rates. No seasonal trends could be identified for all monoterpenes and mean fluxes from both forest and plantation floor were ~ 100 times smaller than canopy emission rates reported in the literature. Occasional spikes of higher emissions from the forest floor, however, warrant further investigation in terms of underlying processes and their contribution to regional scale atmospheric fluxes.
Ridleyandra chuana, a new species of Gesneriaceae, is described and illustrated. It is endemic in Peninsular Malaysia and known from two small and restricted populations in montane forest. Its conservation status is assessed as vulnerable.
Due to widespread distribution of dwarf bamboo, Chimonobambusa utilis, in mountain environment, the effects of elevation (low and high) and canopy condition (forest understorey and forest edge) on the clonal morphology and leaf fluctuating asymmetry were investigated in an evergreen broadleaves forest of Jinfo Mountain Nature Reserve. Elevation and canopy condition were significant for all morphological traits of C. utilis (except for effect of elevation on node number under branch). Traits of clonal morphology such as height, basal diameter, height under branch tended to be higher in forest understorey and in high elevation. Forest understorey in high elevation was favour of shooting number. Interaction of elevation and canopy conditions had a significant effect on growth of node. Single leaf area (SLA) and all indices of fluctuating asymmetry were significantly higher in low elevation than that in high elevation of forest understorey. Thus, elevation and canopy condition formed environmental stress that lead to the adaptation of morphological traits and leaf fluctuating asymmetry of C. utilis populations to mountain forest habitats.
Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve (MMFR) in Peninsular Malaysia is under systematic management since 1902 and still considered as the best managed mangrove forest in the world. The present study on silvimetrics assessed the ongoing MMFR forest management, which includes a first thinning after 15 years, a second thinning after 20 years and clear-felling of 30-year old forest blocks, for its efficiency and productivity in comparison to natural mangroves. The estimated tree structural parameters (e.g. density, frequency) from three different-aged mangrove blocks of fifteen (MF15), twenty (MF20), and thirty (MF30) years old indicated that Bruguiera and Excoecaria spp. did not constitute a significant proportion of the vegetation (<5%), and hence the results focused majorly on Rhizophora apiculata. The density of R. apiculata at MF15, MF20 and MF30 was 4,331, 2,753 and 1,767 stems ha(-1), respectively. In relation to ongoing practices of the artificial thinnings at MMFR, the present study suggests that the first thinning could be made earlier to limit the loss of exploitable wood due to natural thinning. In fact, the initial density at MF15 was expected to drop down from 6,726 to 1,858 trees ha(-1) before the first thinning. Therefore the trees likely to qualify for natural thinning, though having a smaller stem diameter, should be exploited for domestic/commercial purposes at an earlier stage. The clear-felling block (MF30) with a maximum stem diameter of 30 cm was estimated to yield 372 t ha(-1) of the above-ground biomass and suggests that the mangrove management based on a 30-year rotation is appropriate for the MMFR. Since Matang is the only iconic site that practicing sustainable wood production, it could be an exemplary to other mangrove locations for their improved management.
Topography is a key driver of tropical forest structure and composition, as it constrains local nutrient and hydraulic conditions within which trees grow. Yet, we do not fully understand how changes in forest physiognomy driven by topography impact other emergent properties of forests, such as their aboveground carbon density (ACD). Working in Borneo - at a site where 70-m-tall forests in alluvial valleys rapidly transition to stunted heath forests on nutrient-depleted dip slopes - we combined field data with airborne laser scanning and hyperspectral imaging to characterise how topography shapes the vertical structure, wood density, diversity and ACD of nearly 15 km2 of old-growth forest. We found that subtle differences in elevation - which control soil chemistry and hydrology - profoundly influenced the structure, composition and diversity of the canopy. Capturing these processes was critical to explaining landscape-scale heterogeneity in ACD, highlighting how emerging remote sensing technologies can provide new insights into long-standing ecological questions.
Forest canopies are dynamic interfaces between organisms and atmosphere, providing buffered microclimates and complex microhabitats. Canopies form vertically stratified ecosystems interconnected with other strata. Some forest biodiversity patterns and food webs have been documented and measurements of ecophysiology and biogeochemical cycling have allowed analyses of large-scale transfer of CO2, water, and trace gases between forests and the atmosphere. However, many knowledge gaps remain. With global research networks and databases, and new technologies and infrastructure, we envisage rapid advances in our understanding of the mechanisms that drive the spatial and temporal dynamics of forests and their canopies. Such understanding is vital for the successful management and conservation of global forests and the ecosystem services they provide to the world.
Blackflies (Diptera: Simuliidae) are ecologically and medically important insects but they have been understudied in Malaysia. Accordingly, a study on the temporal variation in diversity and community structure of preimaginal blackflies was conducted for the first time in Malaysia. A total of 865 preimaginal blackflies were collected in 120 samplings from five streams across three monsoon seasons from February 2018 until January 2019. Ten species were recorded and most frequently collected species were Simulium cheongi, Simulium vanluni and Simulium jeffreyi. Relatively common species were Simulium roslihashimi, Simulium tani complex and Simulium trangense. No significant changes of rainfall was observed between three monsoon seasons as well as the seasons with species and physiochemical parameters except acidity (pH) (P 20%) indicated that S. vanluni and S. jeffreyi were commonly associated with wider, deeper and fast-flowing streams with low conductivity and larger streambed particle. In contrast, S. cheongi was associated with smaller, slower and small streambed particle. This first extensive bimonthly study has uncovered the species community structure as well as the changes of stream physicochemical parameters over time although they were not greatly and significantly influenced by the monsoon seasons. Species distribution, richness and abundance, however, were highly determined by the stream width, depth and velocity, therefore, were vital in shaping diversity and community structure of preimaginal blackflies.
Riverine forests are unique and highly significant ecosystems that are globally important for diverse and threatened avian species. Apart from being a cradle of life, it also serves as a gene pool that harbors a variety of flora and fauna species (repeated below). Despite the fact, this fragile ecosystem harbored avian assemblages; it is now disappearing daily as a result of human activity. Determining habitat productivity using bird species is critical for conservation and better management in the future. Multiple surveys were conducted over a 15-month period, from January to March 2019, using the distance sampling point count method. A total of 250 point count stations were fixed systematically at 300 m intervals. In total, 9929 bird individuals were recorded, representing 57 species and 34 families. Out of 57 bird species, two were vulnerable, one was data deficient, one was nearly threatened, and the remaining 53 species were of least concern. The Eurasian Collard Dove - Streptopelia decaocto (14.641 ± 2.532/ha), White-eared Bulbul - Pycnonotus leucotis (13.398 ± 4.342/ha) and Common Babbler - Turdoides caudata (10.244 ± 2.345/ha) were the three first plenteous species having higher densities. However, the densities of three species, i.e., Lesser Whitethroat - Sylvia curruca, Gray Heron - Ardea cinerea and Pallas Fish Eagle - Haliaeetus leucoryphus, were not analyzed due to the small sample size. The findings of diversity indices revealed that riverine forest has harbored the diverse avian species that are uniformly dispersed across the forest. Moreover, recording the ten foraging guilds indicated that riverine forest is rich in food resources. In addition, the floristic structure importance value index results indicated that riverine forest is diverse and rich in flora, i.e. trees, shrubs, weeds and grass, making it an attractive and productive habitat for bird species.
Resource allocation within trees is a zero-sum game. Unavoidable trade-offs dictate that allocation to growth-promoting functions curtails other functions, generating a gradient of investment in growth versus survival along which tree species align, known as the interspecific growth-mortality trade-off. This paradigm is widely accepted but not well established. Using demographic data for 1,111 tree species across ten tropical forests, we tested the generality of the growth-mortality trade-off and evaluated its underlying drivers using two species-specific parameters describing resource allocation strategies: tolerance of resource limitation and responsiveness of allocation to resource access. Globally, a canonical growth-mortality trade-off emerged, but the trade-off was strongly observed only in less disturbance-prone forests, which contained diverse resource allocation strategies. Only half of disturbance-prone forests, which lacked tolerant species, exhibited the trade-off. Supported by a theoretical model, our findings raise questions about whether the growth-mortality trade-off is a universally applicable organizing framework for understanding tropical forest community structure.
Tree species of Eurasian broadleaved forest possess two divergent trait syndromes with contrasting patterns of resource allocation adapted to different selection environments: short-stature basal resprouters that divert resources to a bud bank adapted to frequent and severe disturbances such as fire and herbivory, and tall trees that delay reproduction by investing in rapid height growth to escape shading. Drawing on theory developed in savanna ecosystems, we propose a conceptual framework showing that the possession of contrasting trait syndromes is essential for the persistence of broadleaved trees in an open ecosystem that burns. Consistent with this hypothesis, trees of modern Eurasian broadleaved forest bear a suite of traits that are adaptive to surface and crown-fire regimes. We contend that limited opportunities in grassland restricts recruitment to disturbance-free refugia, and en masse establishment creates a wooded environment where shade limits the growth of light-demanding savanna plants. Rapid height growth, which involves investment in structural support and the switch from a multi-stemmed to a monopodial growth form, is adaptive in this shaded environment. Although clustering reduces surface fuel loads, these establishment nuclei are vulnerable to high-intensity crown fires. The lethal effects of canopy fire are avoided by seasonal leaf shedding, and aerial resprouting enhances rapid post-fire recovery of photosynthetic capacity. While these woody formations satisfy the structural definition of forest, their constituents are clearly derived from savanna. Contrasting trait syndromes thus represent the shift from consumer to resource regulation in savanna ecosystems. Consistent with global trends, the diversification of most contemporary broadleaved taxa coincided with the spread of grasslands, a surge in fire activity and a decline in wooded ecosystems in the late Miocene-Pliocene. Recognition that Eurasian broadleaved forest has savanna origins and persists as an alternative state with adjacent grassy ecosystems has far-reaching management implications in accordance with functional rather than structural criteria. Shade is a severe constraint to the regeneration and growth of both woody and herbaceous growth forms in consumer-regulated ecosystems. However, these ecosystems are highly resilient to disturbance, an essential process that maintains diversity especially among the species-rich herbaceous component that is vulnerable to shading when consumer behaviour is altered.
Deforestation and forest degradation are among the leading global concerns, as they could reduce the carbon sink and sequestration potential of the forest. The impoundment of Kenyir River, Hulu Terengganu, Malaysia, in 1985 due to the development of hydropower station has created a large area of water bodies following clearance of forested land. This study assessed the loss of forest carbon due to these activities within the period of 37 years, between 1972 and 2019. The study area consisted of Kenyir Lake catchment area, which consisted mainly of forests and the great Kenyir Lake. Remote sensing datasets have been used in this analysis. Satellite images from Landsat 1-5 MSS and Landsat 8 OLI/TRIS that were acquired between the years 1972 and 2019 were used to classify land uses in the entire landscape of Kenyir Lake catchment. Support vector machine (SVM) was adapted to generate the land-use classification map in the study area. The results show that the total study area includes 278,179 ha and forest covers dominated the area for before and after the impoundment of Kenyir Lake. The assessed loss of carbon between the years 1972 and 2019 was around 8.6 million Mg C with an annual rate of 0.36%. The main single cause attributing to the forest loss was due to clearing of forest for hydro-electric dam construction. However, the remaining forests surrounding the study area are still able to sequester carbon at a considerable rate and thus balance the carbon dynamics within the landscapes. The results highlight that carbon sequestration scenario in Kenyir Lake catchment area shows the potential of the carbon sink in the study area are acceptable with only 17% reduction of sequestration ability. The landscape of the study area is considered as highly vegetated area despite changes due to dam construction.
Drought affects vegetation growth to a large extent. Understanding the dynamic changes of vegetation during drought is of great significance for agricultural and ecological management and climate change adaptation. The relations between vegetation and drought have been widely investigated, but how vegetation loss and restoration in response to drought remains unclear. Using the standardized precipitation evapotranspiration index (SPEI) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data, this study developed an evaluation framework for exploring the responses of vegetation loss and recovery to meteorological drought, and applied it to the humid subtropical Pearl River basin (PRB) in southern China for estimating the loss and recovery of three vegetation types (forest, grassland, cropland) during drought using the observed NDVI changes. Results indicate that vegetation is more sensitive to drought in high-elevation areas (lag time 8 months). Vegetation loss (especially in cropland) is found to be more sensitive to drought duration than drought severity and peak. No obvious linear relationship between drought intensity and the extent of vegetation loss is found. Regardless of the intensity, drought can cause the largest probability of mild loss of vegetation, followed by moderate loss, and the least probability of severe loss. Large spatial variability in the probability of vegetation loss and recovery time is found over the study domain, with a higher probability (up to 50 %) of drought-induced vegetation loss and a longer recovery time (>7 months) mostly in the high-elevation areas. Further analysis suggests that forest shows higher but cropland shows lower drought resistance than other vegetation types, and grassland requires a shorter recovery time (4.2-month) after loss than forest (5.1-month) and cropland (4.8-month).
The role of conspecific density dependence (CDD) in the maintenance of species richness is a central focus of tropical forest ecology. However, tests of CDD often ignore the integrated effects of CDD over multiple life stages and their long-term impacts on population demography. We combined a 10-year time series of seed production, seedling recruitment and sapling and tree demography of three dominant Southeast Asian tree species that adopt a mast-fruiting phenology. We used these data to construct individual-based models that examine the effects of CDD on population growth rates (λ) across life-history stages. Recruitment was driven by positive CDD for all species, supporting the predator satiation hypothesis, while negative CDD affected seedling and sapling growth of two species, significantly reducing λ. This negative CDD on juvenile growth overshadowed the positive CDD of recruitment, suggesting the cumulative effects of CDD during seedling and sapling development has greater importance than the positive CDD during infrequent masting events. Overall, CDD varied among positive, neutral and negative effects across life-history stages for all species, suggesting that assessments of CDD on transitions between just two stages (e.g. seeds seedlings or juveniles mature trees) probably misrepresent the importance of CDD on population growth and stability.
Experiments under controlled conditions have established that ecosystem functioning is generally positively related to levels of biodiversity, but it is unclear how widespread these effects are in real-world settings and whether they can be harnessed for ecosystem restoration. We used remote-sensing data from the first decade of a long-term, field-scale tropical restoration experiment initiated in 2002 to test how the diversity of planted trees affected recovery of a 500-ha area of selectively logged forest measured using multiple sources of satellite data. Replanting using species-rich mixtures of tree seedlings with higher phylogenetic and functional diversity accelerated restoration of remotely sensed estimates of aboveground biomass, canopy cover, and leaf area index. Our results are consistent with a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in the lowland dipterocarp rainforests of SE Asia and demonstrate that using diverse mixtures of species can enhance their initial recovery after logging.
Trees structure the Earth's most biodiverse ecosystem, tropical forests. The vast number of tree species presents a formidable challenge to understanding these forests, including their response to environmental change, as very little is known about most tropical tree species. A focus on the common species may circumvent this challenge. Here we investigate abundance patterns of common tree species using inventory data on 1,003,805 trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm across 1,568 locations1-6 in closed-canopy, structurally intact old-growth tropical forests in Africa, Amazonia and Southeast Asia. We estimate that 2.2%, 2.2% and 2.3% of species comprise 50% of the tropical trees in these regions, respectively. Extrapolating across all closed-canopy tropical forests, we estimate that just 1,053 species comprise half of Earth's 800 billion tropical trees with trunk diameters of at least 10 cm. Despite differing biogeographic, climatic and anthropogenic histories7, we find notably consistent patterns of common species and species abundance distributions across the continents. This suggests that fundamental mechanisms of tree community assembly may apply to all tropical forests. Resampling analyses show that the most common species are likely to belong to a manageable list of known species, enabling targeted efforts to understand their ecology. Although they do not detract from the importance of rare species, our results open new opportunities to understand the world's most diverse forests, including modelling their response to environmental change, by focusing on the common species that constitute the majority of their trees.
The jurisdictional approach concept emerged in response to the widespread failure of sectoral forest conservation projects. Despite its increasing popularity, understanding jurisdictional approach outcomes is challenging, given that many remain in either the formation or implementation stage. Furthermore, diverse stakeholders hold different perspectives on what exactly a jurisdictional approach is intended to pursue. These different perspectives are important to unravel, as having a shared understanding of the outcomes is important to build the critical support needed for it. This study aims to add to the limited evidence with a case study in Sabah, Malaysia, which is committed to addressing a leading deforestation driver (palm oil) through sustainability certification in a jurisdiction. We used Q-methodology to explore stakeholder perceptions, revealing three distinct perspectives regarding what outcomes jurisdictional approaches should pursue. We asked about outcomes achievable within ten years (2022-2032) and considering real-world constraints. We found different perspectives regarding economic, environmental, governance, and smallholders' welfare outcomes. However, we found consensus among stakeholders about some outcomes: (i) that achieving zero-deforestation is untenable, (ii) that issuing compensation or incentives to private land owners to not convert forests into plantations is unrealistic, (iii) that the human well-being of plantation workers could improve through better welfare, and (iv) the free, prior and informed consent given by local communities being required legally. The findings offer insights into key stakeholders' perceptions of the deliverables of jurisdictional approaches and the difficulty of achieving its objectives under real-world constraints.
Tropical peatland across Southeast Asia is drained extensively for production of pulpwood, palm oil and other food crops. Associated increases in peat decomposition have led to widespread subsidence, deterioration of peat condition and CO2 emissions. However, quantification of subsidence and peat condition from these processes is challenging due to the scale and inaccessibility of dense tropical peat swamp forests. The development of satellite interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) has the potential to solve this problem. The Advanced Pixel System using Intermittent Baseline Subset (APSIS, formerly ISBAS) modelling technique provides improved coverage across almost all land surfaces irrespective of ground cover, enabling derivation of a time series of tropical peatland surface oscillations across whole catchments. This study aimed to establish the extent to which APSIS-InSAR can monitor seasonal patterns of tropical peat surface oscillations at North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest, Peninsular Malaysia. Results showed that C-band SAR could penetrate the forest canopy over tropical peat swamp forests intermittently and was applicable to a range of land covers. Therefore the APSIS technique has the potential for monitoring peat surface oscillations under tropical forest canopy using regularly acquired C-band Sentinel-1 InSAR data, enabling continuous monitoring of tropical peatland surface motion at a spatial resolution of 20 m.
In this review, the characteristics and applications of structural laminated veneer lumber made from planted forest wood is introduced, and its preparation is explained, including various tree species and slab qualities, treatments for multiple effects and reinforced composites. The relevant factors in the bonding technology and pressing processes as well as the mechanical properties, research direction and application prospects of structural laminated veneer lumber made from planted forest wood are discussed.
A field study was performed to describe the functional feeding groups (FFGs) of Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera and Trichoptera (EPT) in the Tupah, Batu Hampar and Teroi Rivers in the Gunung Jerai Forest Reserve (GJFR), Kedah, Malaysia. Twenty-nine genera belonging to 19 families were identified. The EPTs were classified into five FFGs: collector-gatherers (CG), collector-filterers (CF), shredders (SH), scrapers (SC) and predators (P). In this study, CG and CF were the dominant groups inhabiting all three rivers. Ephemeroptera dominated these rivers due to their high abundance, and they were also the CG (90.6%). SC were the lowest in abundance among all groups. Based on the FFGs, the Teroi River was suitable for CG, whereas the Tupah and Batu Hampar Rivers were suitable for CG and CF. The distribution of FFGs differed among the rivers (CG, χ(2) = 23.6, p = 0.00; SH, χ(2) = 10.02, p = 0.007; P, χ(2) = 25.54, p = 0.00; CF, χ(2) = 21.95, p = 0.00; SC, χ(2) = 9.31, p = 0.01). These findings indicated that the FFGs found in rivers of the GJFR represent high river quality.