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The Sabah biodiversity experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning

The Sabah biodiversity experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning
The Sabah biodiversity experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning
Relatively, little is known about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in forests, especially in the tropics. We describe the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment: a large-scale, long-term field study on the island of Borneo. The project aims at understanding the relationship between tree species diversity and the functioning of lowland dipterocarp rainforest during restoration following selective logging. The experiment is planned to run for several decades (from seed to adult tree), so here we focus on introducing the project and its experimental design and on assessing initial conditions and the potential for restoration of the structure and functioning of the study system, the Malua Forest Reserve. We estimate residual impacts 22 years after selective logging by comparison with an appropriate neighbouring area of primary forest in Danum Valley of similar conditions. There was no difference in the alpha or beta species diversity of transect plots in the two forest types, probably owing to the selective nature of the logging and potential effects of competitive release. However, despite equal total stem density, forest structure differed as expected with a deficit of large trees and a surfeit of saplings in selectively logged areas. These impacts on structure have the potential to influence ecosystem functioning. In particular, above-ground biomass and carbon pools in selectively logged areas were only 60 per cent of those in the primary forest even after 22 years of recovery. Our results establish the initial conditions for the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment and confirm the potential to accelerate restoration by using enrichment planting of dipterocarps to overcome recruitment limitation. What role dipterocarp diversity plays in restoration only will become clear with long-term results.
0962-8436
3303-3315
Hector, Andy
eea8e9d4-5822-48c0-b592-0b4a47ec2fc8
Philipson, Christopher
a205cb41-803c-4c0b-82c6-a4fdad021389
Saner, Philippe
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Chamagne, Juliette
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Dzulkifli, Dzaeman
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O'Brien, Michael
af4c1760-c973-4c0a-8fed-6bc4cc3642f8
Snaddon, Jake L.
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Ulok, Philip
daf338c1-77e5-40a1-a833-477d7b0c011e
Weilenmann, Maja
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Reynolds, Glen
eb380c3d-218d-4dfd-9319-e2c58f34ebcb
Godfrey, Charles J.
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Hector, Andy
eea8e9d4-5822-48c0-b592-0b4a47ec2fc8
Philipson, Christopher
a205cb41-803c-4c0b-82c6-a4fdad021389
Saner, Philippe
6bdf4f29-d8b8-467a-bdc0-5ce5467f1b87
Chamagne, Juliette
1f2bc720-2488-417e-941f-450ad986bbf8
Dzulkifli, Dzaeman
18ebdff1-3c01-4159-b8b8-5924222aec44
O'Brien, Michael
af4c1760-c973-4c0a-8fed-6bc4cc3642f8
Snaddon, Jake L.
31a601f7-c9b0-45e2-b59b-fda9a0c5a54b
Ulok, Philip
daf338c1-77e5-40a1-a833-477d7b0c011e
Weilenmann, Maja
59256c1d-ea6c-4729-924c-00d09dc81024
Reynolds, Glen
eb380c3d-218d-4dfd-9319-e2c58f34ebcb
Godfrey, Charles J.
727cc38f-c685-4e3c-ac9b-8a9b80234281

Hector, Andy, Philipson, Christopher, Saner, Philippe, Chamagne, Juliette, Dzulkifli, Dzaeman, O'Brien, Michael, Snaddon, Jake L., Ulok, Philip, Weilenmann, Maja, Reynolds, Glen and Godfrey, Charles J. (2011) The Sabah biodiversity experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 366, (1582), pp. 3303-3315.

Record type: Article

Abstract

Relatively, little is known about the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in forests, especially in the tropics. We describe the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment: a large-scale, long-term field study on the island of Borneo. The project aims at understanding the relationship between tree species diversity and the functioning of lowland dipterocarp rainforest during restoration following selective logging. The experiment is planned to run for several decades (from seed to adult tree), so here we focus on introducing the project and its experimental design and on assessing initial conditions and the potential for restoration of the structure and functioning of the study system, the Malua Forest Reserve. We estimate residual impacts 22 years after selective logging by comparison with an appropriate neighbouring area of primary forest in Danum Valley of similar conditions. There was no difference in the alpha or beta species diversity of transect plots in the two forest types, probably owing to the selective nature of the logging and potential effects of competitive release. However, despite equal total stem density, forest structure differed as expected with a deficit of large trees and a surfeit of saplings in selectively logged areas. These impacts on structure have the potential to influence ecosystem functioning. In particular, above-ground biomass and carbon pools in selectively logged areas were only 60 per cent of those in the primary forest even after 22 years of recovery. Our results establish the initial conditions for the Sabah Biodiversity Experiment and confirm the potential to accelerate restoration by using enrichment planting of dipterocarps to overcome recruitment limitation. What role dipterocarp diversity plays in restoration only will become clear with long-term results.

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Published date: 17 October 2011
Organisations: Environmental

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 359400
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/359400
ISSN: 0962-8436
PURE UUID: a0e65802-b713-4516-8948-7d717f062ae5
ORCID for Jake L. Snaddon: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3549-5472

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Date deposited: 01 Nov 2013 13:21
Last modified: 04 Nov 2017 03:35

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Contributors

Author: Andy Hector
Author: Christopher Philipson
Author: Philippe Saner
Author: Juliette Chamagne
Author: Dzaeman Dzulkifli
Author: Michael O'Brien
Author: Jake L. Snaddon ORCID iD
Author: Philip Ulok
Author: Maja Weilenmann
Author: Glen Reynolds
Author: Charles J. Godfrey

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