Studying tropical rainforest ecology in malaysia


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Studying tropical rainforest ecology in malaysia

  1. 1. Studying Tropical Rainforests in Malaysia<br />Special Topics in Ecology and Biodiversity<br />University of Malaya<br />Dr. Mark McGinley<br />August 2010<br />
  2. 2. What Have We Learned By Looking at Studies of Competition in Temperate Regions?<br />The World is Complicated!!<br />Interactions are complex<br />Combination of direct and indirect interactions<br />Abiotic and biotic factors important<br />Interactions can take a long time to express themselves<br />Progress can be made if we allow ecological theory to guide our investigations<br />
  3. 3. Quick and Dirty History of Natural History and Ecological Research<br />1) Originally, this work was very descriptive<br />What species are found where?<br />Basic taxonomic work<br />Basic natural history<br />
  4. 4. History of Ecology<br />1960s ecology became more experimental<br />Joe Connell and Bob Paine<br />Pioneered the use of manipulative controlled ecological experiments.<br />Replication<br />Randomization<br />Controls<br />
  5. 5. Connell’s Barnacle Study<br />
  6. 6. Paine’s Pisaster study<br />
  7. 7. History of Ecology<br />Research increasingly guided by ecological theory<br />Mathematical and graphical representation<br />Robert MacArthur and other 1960s<br />
  8. 8. Old Time Ecology<br />Single investigators working alone to study a small group of organisms over a relatively short time scale.<br />Obviously, the world is too complex to allow this to be an effective strategy for understanding ecology and environmental issues<br />
  9. 9. More Modern Approach<br />Work in teams<br />Bring a variety of expertise together<br />Conduct studies over longer periods of time<br />Synthesize what is happening across a variety of research sites<br />
  10. 10. Requires Some Fundamental Changes<br />Funding<br />Although ecological research is much cheaper than molecular biology, it is still quite expensive<br />If a scientist is going to undertake a long-term study then they need to be relatively sure that funding will be available<br />
  11. 11. Requires Some Changes<br />Rewards<br />Hiring, tenure, promotion dependent of publishing<br />Scientists conducting long term research may publish less often<br />How does that influence their careers?<br />Some of the research that I was doing in West Texas would have been very interesting after 25 years but not so interesting after only three.<br />What motivation did I have to continue the study for so long?<br />
  12. 12. Long Term Ecological Research (LTER)<br />US LTER Network<br />The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network is a collaborative effort involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. <br />The Network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems and among other related national and international research programs. <br />The National Science Foundation established the LTER program in 1980 to support research on long-term ecological phenomena in the United States. <br />The 26 LTER Sites represent diverse ecosystems and research emphases <br /><br />
  13. 13. US North American Sites<br />
  14. 14. Long Term Ecological Research Goals<br />Understanding: To understand a diverse array of ecosystems at multiple spatial and temporal scales. <br />Synthesis: To create general knowledge through long-term, interdisciplinary research, synthesis of information, and development of theory. <br />Information: To inform the LTER and broader scientific community by creating well designed and well documented databases. <br />Legacies: To create a legacy of well-designed and documented long-term observations, experiments, and archives of samples and specimens for future generations. <br />Education: To promote training, teaching, and learning about long-term ecological research and the Earth's ecosystems, and to educate a new generation of scientists. <br />Outreach: To reach out to the broader scientific community, natural resource managers, policymakers, and the general public by providing decision support, information, recommendations and the knowledge to address complex environmental challenges.<br /> <br />
  15. 15. LTER Core Research Areas<br />1) Pattern and control of primary production<br />Plant growth in most ecosystems forms the base or “primary” component of the food web. The amount and type of plant growth in an ecosystem helps to determine the amount and kind of animals (or “secondary” productivity) that can survive there.<br />2) Spatial and temporal distribution of populations selected to represent trophic structure<br />A population is a group of organisms of the same species. Like canaries in the coalmine, changes in populations of organisms can be important indicators of environmental changes. <br />
  16. 16. LTER Core Research Areas<br />3) Pattern and control of organic matter accumulation in surface layers and sediments<br />The entire ecosystem relies on the recycling of organic matter (and the nutrientsit contains), including dead plants, animals, and other organisms. Decomposition of organic matter and its movement through the ecosystem is an important component of the food web. <br />4) Patterns of inorganic inputs and movements of nutrients through soils, groundwater and surface waters<br />Nitrogen, phosphorus and other mineral nutrients are cycled through the ecosystem by way of decay and disturbances such as fire and flood. In excessive quantities nitrogen and other nutrients can have far-reaching and harmful effects on the environment.<br />
  17. 17. LTER Core Research Areas<br />5) Patterns and frequency of site disturbances<br />Disturbances often shape ecosystems by periodically reorganizing or destroying them, allowing for significant changes in plant and animal populations and communities.<br />
  18. 18. International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER)<br />The International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) consists of networks of scientists engaged in long-term, site-based ecological and socioeconomic research.  <br />Since ILTER’s founding in 1993, global long-term ecological research programs have expanded rapidly, reflecting the increased appreciation of the importance of long-term research in assessing and resolving complex environmental issues.  <br />Forty member networks have established formal LTER programs and joined the ILTER network. In addition to these affiliated member networks, several other groups of scientists are actively pursuing the establishment of networks and many others have expressed interest in doing the same.<br /><br />
  19. 19. ILTER Networks in East Asia-Pacific<br />Australia<br />China <br />Japan <br />Korea <br />Mongolia <br />Taiwan <br />Thailand<br />
  20. 20. Long Term Ecological Research in Tropical Rainforests<br />Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI)<br />Field site located in Barro Colorado Island (BCI) in Gatung Lake in the Panama Canal<br />
  21. 21. BCI 50 Hectare Plot<br />Barro Colorado Island (BCI) has been the focus of intensive research on lowland tropical moist forest since 1923, and its flora is better known than any site of comparable size throughout the world. <br />The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and Princeton University established the first Forest Dynamics Plot at BCI in 1980, as part of its comprehensive program of research in tropical forest biology, which includes plant physiology, canopy biology, and animal ecology. The first census was completed in 1982, revealing a total of approximately 240,000 stems of 303 species of trees and shrubs more than 1 cm in diameter at breast height. <br />Recensused every 5 years<br />The plot is maintained by the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.<br />Robin Foster and Steven Hubbell<br /><br />
  22. 22. BCI 50 Hectare Plot<br />Lots of important papers have been based on research conducted at this site.<br />Often published in Science, Nature, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences<br />
  23. 23. Center for Tropical Forest Science<br /><ul><li>The Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) is a global network of forest research plots and scientists dedicated to the study of tropical and temperate forest function and diversity.
  24. 24. The multi-institutional network comprises more than thirty forest research plots across the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Europe, with a strong focus on tropical regions. CTFS monitors the growth and survival of approximately 4.5 million trees and 8,500 species.
  25. 25.
  26. 26.</li></li></ul><li>Center for Tropical Forest Research<br />CTFS conducts long-term, large-scale research on forests around the world to:<br /> Increase scientific understanding of forest ecosystems<br />Guide sustainable forest management and natural-resource policy<br />Monitor the impacts of climate change<br />Build capacity in forest science <br />
  27. 27. Center For Tropical Forest Science<br />
  28. 28. Center for Tropical Forest ScienceSites in Asia<br />China – 4<br />India – 1<br />Malaysia – 3<br />Phillipines – 1<br />Singapore – 1<br />Sri Lanka – 1<br />Taiwan – 3<br />Thailand - 4<br />
  29. 29. Center for Tropical Forest ScienceSites in Malaysia<br />Danum Valley<br />Lambir<br />Pasoh<br />
  30. 30. Danum Valley<br />The plot is part of the Royal Society's South East Asia Rain Forest Research Programme, which has operated the Danum Valley Field Centre with local partners since 1985. <br />The plot is located in undulating landscape of the Danum Valley Conservation Area and will provide a baseline for on-going studies of forest regeneration, carbon dynamics, and biodiversity in adjacent logged forest and forest fragmented by oil palm plantations. <br />Plot is funded by HSBC Malayisa; establishment began in early 2010.<br /><br />
  31. 31. Danum Valley<br />Principal Scientists<br />Dr. David Glen<br />
  32. 32. South East Asia Rainforest Research ProgrammeThe Royal Society<br />established in 1985 in response to mounting concern over the future of SE Asia's rainforests<br />efforts are primarily focused at one site in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo - the Danum Valley Conservation Area. <br /><br />
  33. 33. Danum Valley Conservation Area<br /><ul><li>Why focus on Danum Valley?</li></ul>the most important questions in tropical rainforest research often require long-term observations and experiments supported by the necessary technical staff and infrastructure. <br />It is the aim of SEARRP, with our Malaysian partners, to provide this support at the Danum Valley Field Centre. <br />
  34. 34. Danum Valley<br />Covering 43,800 hectares (438 km2), the Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the largest, most important and best-protected expanses of pristine lowland forest remaining in SE Asia. <br />On its eastern border is the Danum Valley Field Centre - probably the leading rainforest research centre in the Old World tropics. <br />
  35. 35. Danum Valley<br />Danum Valley, and several other large primary forest protected areas including the Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon Conservation Areas, are embedded within an exceptionally large (>10,000 km2) forest concession operated by Yayasan Sabah (the Sabah Foundation). <br />
  36. 36. Yayasan Sabah<br />The bulk of the of the Yayasan Sabah area is under a regime of natural forest management, but also includes extensive timber and oil palm plantations, community forestry programmes, eco-tourism sites and two of the region's largest forest rehabilitation projects.<br />Income from the Foundation's natural forest and plantation resource base is used to fund welfare, education and conservation initiatives in Sabah. <br />
  37. 37. Yayasan Sabah Forest Management Area<br />
  38. 38. Research<br />The research programme at Danum Valley is wide ranging and involves many leading universities and research institutes. <br />By virtue of its location within a commercial forest concession of known management and land-use history, Danum Valley is one of the leading sites anywhere in the humid tropics where the effects of forest disturbance through timber harvesting, conversion to plantation and rainforest rehabilitation can be investigated. <br />
  39. 39. Research<br />Individual research projects have included many aspects of the ecological and environmental sciences, often within the broad themes of human-associated and natural environmental change and how these may impact upon long-term rainforest dynamics, biodiversity and hydrological systems. <br />Field-based research at Danum is supported by research grids and plots in both primary and logged forest, an extensive trail network, canopy platforms and advanced long-term climate, atmospheric and hydrological monitoring facilities. <br />
  40. 40. Support for Training of Malaysian and SE Asian Students<br />SEARRP is able to provide direct support for Malaysian and other scientists from SE Asia who would like to do field research at Danum Valley, primarily by providing top-up funds to cover the additional costs of traveling to and staying at Danum Valley. <br />SEARRP can also advise local students of options for funding post-graduate research based at Danum Valley, and opportunities to work SEARRP academics who may be able to offer funded PhD or MSc degrees at UK or European universities. <br />For further information please contact<br />
  41. 41. Lambir Hills Forest Dynamics Plot<br />The Lambir Hills Forest Dynamics Plot was initiated in 1991 in Lambir Hills National Park, Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo) by the Sarawak Forest Department, CTFS/Harvard University, and Plant Ecology Laboratory of Osaka City University, Japan. Ehime and Kyoto Universities (Japan) are also close collaborators at the site. <br /><br /><br />
  42. 42. Lambir<br />Lambir's mixed dipterocarp forest is characterized by high endemism, and with approximately 1,200 species found in the 52-ha plot contains possibly the richest diversity of tree species in the Old World. <br />This high species count at the plot is partly due to the plot's location. The plot crosses an abrupt change in soil types that results in a more than 60% change of species composition within 50 meters.<br />
  43. 43. Lambir<br />Principal Scientists<br />Mr. Sylvester Tan sylt@pd.jaring.myDr. Lee HuaSenghuaseng@po.jaring.myDr. Stuart stuart_davies@harvard.eduDr.<br />
  44. 44. Lambir<br />Research results<br /><br />
  45. 45. Pasoh<br />In 1986, the second Forest Dynamics Plot was initiated in peninsular Malaysia in a collaboration among the Forest Research Institute Malaysia, the CTFS/Harvard University, and STRI. Since the project's initiation, the National Institute of Environmental Studies of Japan has become a project partner. <br />The plot is located in Pasoh Forest Reserve in lowland dipterocarp forest, a type of evergreen tropical moist forest. The area is aseasonal and has a flat terrain. The first census was completed in 1989, and two recencuses have been completed since then. <br />
  46. 46. Pasoh<br />This plot contains more than 800 species and approximately 340,000 trees. Many of the plot's species are commercially important and are the focus of intensive demographic study.<br />Furthermore, analyses of the human uses of the Pasoh forest and economic valuations of forest resources based on Pasoh FDP data have been conducted.<br /><br /><br />
  47. 47. Pasoh<br />Principal Scientists<br />Dr. Abd.<br />
  48. 48. Pasoh<br />Research<br /><br />
  49. 49. FRIM<br /><br />