Past Research Summary

Theme 1: Ecorogical Service

1-(1) Establishment of database for ecological service value and goods of tropical landscapes:

All available information related to the ecological and socio-economical functions and their services of rain forests will be incorporated to the databases in order to facilitate the sharing of data amongst the scientist as well as to develop the further management programs. The database will be based upon the functional aspects of individual ecological services values (e.g. watershed protection, carbon stock and removals, biodiversity protection) and the parameter affecting the services. Furthermore, the database will be designed to establish inter-linkages between individual ecological service in order to give an insights how to optimize the ecological service value and goods as well as to provide the better answer/guidelines of the landscape management plan to policy makers and local people. The system will be designed to be transparent in procedure how the results will come out.

1-(2) Development of new tools and indicator to strengthen the forest certificate scheme:

For this objective, we are going to develop a tool for rapid assessment with which one can evaluate the present and future status (after logging operation) of biodiversity of the forest very rapidly by using remote sensing technology. As for the evaluation of ecological service value related to biodiversity, in comparison to the other ecological service, it is difficult to quantify the value, partly because of the uncertainties and heterogeneities of the plants and animals and their biological interactive activities occurs inside the forest. However, the evaluations of such a biodiversity are urgent issue and very handy type of tools and indicators need to be developed so that one can evaluate these biological events rapidly but accurately. Such tools and indicators should also be applicable to the different landscapes. Before establishing the database of ecological services with respects to the biodiversities, we felt keenly the necessity of the development of this sort of tools and indicators, thus we propose the three step-wise approaches as listed below.

1-(3) Scaling up the evaluation system of forest structure by remote sensing:

Based upon the previous studies conducted at Pasoh forest, the canopy surface and forest stand structure influence extensively on the regeneration process, floristic composition and fauna, habitat ranges of wildlife. As the first step, we are going to analyze the probability of any inter-linkages between the forest floor environment and canopy structures. Seedling stocks and their survival, micro-meteorological environments, canopy conditions (openness, height) and wildlife density will be studied with respects to the forest canopy structures. Then, we are going to study the probability in what extent satellite images can predict the fine scale information of forest and canopy structures. Different scale of remote sensing data set, e.g. laser profiler and airborne based photography and satellite images will be used for this objective.

1-(4) To develop the tools and indicator for evaluating the genetic diversity of tree species from external feature of forest:

Selective logging reduces the density of reproductively matured trees, thus affects greatly the genetic diversity of their offspring and ultimately causes the inbreeding depression of the species. Therefore, the identification and monitoring of such a diversity are important issue for the implementation of ecologically sustainable management of forests. However, evaluation of genetic diversity even for a single tree species is usually accompanied by the extensive time and cost. With the analysis on the interaction of external features and status of the target tree species in the forests (e.g. density, crown size etc.), we will develop the rapid assessment tools for evaluating the genetic diversity and the reproductive probability of the target species.

1-(5) To investigate the habitat range and behavior of wildlife animals in relation to the canopy and forest structure:

Wildlife habitat range and their ecology (behavior, food habit etc.) will be studied with respect to the canopy and forest structures. Primates and mid-sized mammals whose habitat use is affected by the canopy structure will be chosen as target animals for this objective. As well, some insect groups which play important roles for pollination of tree species will also be studied at the different vertical strata of the forest.

Theme 2: Social Structure of Local Community

2-(1) To develop the local participation program for the ecosystem management:

As a one of the background and causalities of forest degradation and deforestation, participation of local people and communities for the forest management have been ignored. Their incentives and multi-lateral agreement for the natural resource exploitation are definitely needed for the proper management of the forests.

2-(2) To investigate the sociological and ethnical value of forest for local communities:

We are going to investigate the sociological and ethnical value of the forest for local communities and people. Interview test will be employed for grasping the trends of changes in local people's linkages and affinity to the forest products and commodity rights. The target community/area will be Orang Asli villages, small stake holders, towner from small (less than 2000 populations) communities in the vicinity areas of the target forests.

Theme 3: GIS Approach and Manegement Program

3-(1) Forests for protection of watershed:

Assessment and evaluation of ecological services of forest for the protection of watershed quality and soil erosion etc. The effect of logging and land use changes on the soil erosion and run off water of forest floor will be monitored in a year around bases in a study site of Pasoh region and Bukit Tarek experiment site.

3-(2) Scenario analyses on long term economical changes in ecological service value and goods of tropical forest ecosystems:

In order to clarify the long term effects of logging and land use changes on the forest service value and goods, the economical assessment will be carried out with respect to the local and global scale economy. The scenario analyses will be conducted incorporating the global economy models gathering the local socio-economical and ecological data related to primary forests, production forests, and agricultural landscapes. Target area will be chosen from the part of Negeri-Sembilan state (Pilot site).

3-(3) Risk assessment on landscape development using GIS approaches:

Based upon all the data collected, we are going to develop risk assessment system using GIS in PC. With this system, the environmental risk derived from a proposed development (logging, forest clearing for plantation development) will be immediately given to the clients. As well, the present status of forest (original form of the landscape, the results of long-term scenario analysis of ecological service values of the target area will be presented. Along this line, cost and benefit analysis will be conducted based upon the proposed direction of zoning framework, i.e., the master zoning plan will be established emphasizing the biodiversity, watershed ecosystem, carbon sequestration and stocks or comprehensive value of the ecosystem services.

3-(4) Institutional and site-site networking of ecological service database:

For the promotion of networking among the research scientist, study site and institution for the mutual development of ecological database, we will develop the system in which our ecological service data can be shared not only among our partners but international institutions and researches who have been involved. Networking will also be achieved by the periodical meeting such as international workshop amongst the parties focusing on the ecological service value of forest. As well, the information of man power resources committing the ecological studies with respect of ecological service value and goods will be incorporated to this networking, so that man power resource information can be shared by the different research institution. Ecological education is also another goals for this activities, with materializing the data sources and research output throughout the project.

Theme 4: Forest function as a carbon sink

4-(1) Assessment on the ecosystem service and values of natural and secondary forest in tropics, particularly from the view point of carbon removal and stoking services of tropical rain forest:

Below ground carbon budget will also be studied. For scaling up pin-point results to the greater regional landscape, NPP and carbon stock will be studied by employing the global NPP models and remote sensing techniques. For this scaling up trial, the target area will be chosen from a part of the Negeri-Sembilan state centering the Pasoh Forest Reserve.

1999-2001 Optimizing the Sustainable Management of Tropical Forests

In order to provide the sustainable management plan which optimize the ecosystem service value of the tropical forest ecosystem, we conducted the following subtopics in Pasoh Forest Reserve and its vicinity area in the Peninsular Malaysia. In order to estimate the carbon sequestration potential of the old-growth forest in Peninsular Malaysia, we employed compartment model, which quantifies the carbon flow and the flux.

1) As a part of this study, we studied on the spatial and temporal variations in soil respiration rates, and examine the environmental factors affecting soil respiration rate in primary and secondary forests in Pasoh Forest Reserve and found that soil respiration rate did not show significant different between the two forests but it varies spatially at large extent in the both forests. We also studied litter decomposition by employing the litterbag method focusing 14 species of tree leaf litter and mixed-species twig litter in the natural forest in Pasoh Reserve. Soil carbon and nitrogen contents, soil water content and root biomass explained 20% to 50% of these spatial variations. We found that decomposition rate differed dependent on species and were determined by the initial cellulose content and nitrogen concentration of each litter material; litter with low initial cellulose content and high initial N concentration decomposed faster.

2) Effects of forest fragmentation and selective logging on the genetic diversity and small mammal community were studied. For this purpose, we chose a canopy species Shorea curtusii, almost all of which showed a mast flowering in 1998. The average distance of pollen flow was distinctly longer in the logged forest than in the primary forest. As well, pollen flow of another canopy forming species (Neobalanocarpus heimii) was studied in the lowland dipterocarp forest. The arboreal squirrel community in a logged forest was found to be quite different from that of primary forest.

3) In order to deepen the knowledge on the role of old growth rain forest in facilitating the high species diversity, physiological response of some juvenile trees was studied in relation to the spatial and chronological changes in microenvironment in a lowland dipterocarp forest. We also studied growth performance of the eight dipterocarp species in relation to the micro-environmental changes and found that there is niche separation among the same genus group which adapt to the different microenvironment. For clarifying the logging impacts on the species composition and aboveground biomass, we placed a 12 hector plot in a forest compartment which was logged 1.5 years before our tree census.

4) We explored the possibility of establishing corridor which enables the wildlife to migrate between the fragmented vegetation patches in a mixed landscape unit consisting of virgin forest, regenerating forest after logging, and plantation regime. As a part of this project, silvicultural experiment was conducted testing physiological performance of some tree species in relation to light intensity and surface temperature. In order to evaluate the effects of logging on the hydrological aspects of tropical rain forest, seasonal changes in soil-water relationship was studied in a primary forest.

5) To develop environmentally sounds harvesting systems, we collect base data of the logging impacts. To study about soil erosions, we surveyied the alignments of logging roads, the total area and the amount of earthwork for road constructions in Bukit Tarek Research Site. We also collected data of soil disturbances in a conventional logging site and a cable-logging site, and compared the two systems of harvesting.

6) In order to evaluate socio-economic value of tropical forest, we conducted the conjoint analysis in which questionnaires regarding the best profile of land use were given to respondents. The survey was conducted in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuantang and Kuching in Malaysia. Three types of land-use (protective forest, production forest and agricultural land) were chosen for the questionnaires. The value of each land use type to which respondents were willing to pay as tax was RM27.0 ha-1 for protective forest, RM22.7 ha-1 for agricultural land use. In contrast, the value of production forest was RM-5.6 ha-1.

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