Vegetation responses to burning in a rain forest in Borneo

TitleVegetation responses to burning in a rain forest in Borneo
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsCleary DFR, Priadjati A
JournalPlant Ecology
Volume177
Pagination145-163
Date PublishedApr
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1385-0237
Accession NumberISI:000230175900001
KeywordsABANDONED PASTURES, AMAZON, BIODIVERSITY, BORNEO, BRAZILIAN AMAZON, DISTANCE, Disturbance, DIVERSITY, EASTERN, EL-NINO, ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation), FIRE, INDONESIA, KALIMANTAN, Regeneration, succession, Tropical forest
Abstract

During the 1997/98 ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) event more than 5 million ha of East Kalimantan, Indonesia burned. Here we quantify the initial stages of regeneration (19982001), both in forest that burned and in unburned controls. Sapling and seedling density and species richness remained significantly lower in burned than in unburned forest and community composition remained substantially different between both forest types throughout the sampling period. The only pronounced edge effect was a significantly higher density of seedlings in the interior of unburned forest. Sapling density increased and seedling density declined in both unburned and burned forest during the four-year study period. In the unburned forest, sapling and seedling species richness remained stable, but sapling species richness declined significantly with time in the burned forest. The pioneer community in the burned forest was, furthermore, characterised by higher growth and recruitment than in the unburned forest but mortality did not differ between both forest types. Differences in environment (burned versus unburned: 2965% of variation explained) and the distance between sample sites (1323% of variation explained) explained substantial amounts of variation in sapling and seedling community similarity. Similarity was, however, only marginally (< 1% explained) related to the edge position and temporal variation (difference among sample events). Our results, four years after the initial burn, indicate that burned forest still differed greatly from unburned forest in terms of density, species richness and community composition. There was also no clear trend of a return to pre-disturbance conditions, which indicates that the burned forest may remain in a severely degraded state for a prolonged period of time.

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Alternate JournalPlant Ecol.