The project is to establish a set of permanent forest monitoring plots in secondary forest fragments surrounding the Sinharaja Forest Reserve in southwestern Sri Lanka. These plots will be in fragments of differing ages since abandonment to establish a chronosequence for estimating trends in the development of forest structure and composition and plots will also be placed within the Sinharaja primary forest for comparison. With this work, David will be able to make estimates about the status and recovery of these fragments compared to primary forests in terms of biomass, biodiversity, and functional diversity for mixed dipterocarp forests.
This study is important because Asian secondary tropical forests are poorly represented in the literature, and they differ greatly from other more well documented secondary forests in terms of taxonomy, land-use history, and biophysical conditions. Thus, the results from this study will inform both regional and global forest management policy decisions related to biodiversity and biomass in tropical secondary forests.
2020 (past) Environmental Leadership and Training Initiative (ELTI)
It is estimated that surface mining (i.e., strip mining) accounts for 7% of deforestation along with other environmental consequences including soil degradation, erosion, and polluted runoff in developing countries. Revegetation is the leading method for reclamation of abandoned mine-lands however, critical uncertainties remain for effective methods of revegetation in tropical regions. Here we used soil and vegetation data to elucidate trends in successional development from a time-series of mixed, leguminous, exotic plantings at the PT Singlurus Pratama coal mine in East Kalimantan, Indonesia. Ten sites were sampled in each of 3 planting ages established 8, 6, and 2 years ago. One-way ANOVA and linear mixed effects models of understory composition/structure and soil characteristics showed as time increases diversity and stature of the understory also increase but soil characteristics do not change significantly. Species ordinations overlaid with PCA’s of soil characteristics were used to explore relationships between vegetation composition and soil property gradients and show woody species associating with sites that have relatively high soil health. Soil pH is an important predictor of vegetation composition and the recruitment of woody species is limited when soil pH is below 4. Future management of revegetation reclamation in the tropics should include liming to raise soil pH.