The effects of tropical forest management on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Slade, Eleanor M. (2007) The effects of tropical forest management on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. PhD thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

Full text not available from this repository.


The Effects of Tropical Forest Management on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning Eleanor M. Slade 1. Between 35 % and 50 % of all closed-canopy tropical forest has been lost, and the rate of deforestation continues to increase throughout the tropics. Despite a wealth of literature on the effects of tropical forest disturbance on the diversity and composition of a variety of taxa, there is still no clear consensus on the value of disturbed forests for biodiversity. 2. If forest management practises are to be sustainable in the long-term they should maintain both biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (the interactions and processes of the ecosystem), as well as a timber harvest. However, few studies have investigated the extent to which ecosystem functioning is reduced in logged forests. The effects of different logging intensities on a variety of taxa, and the ecosystem processes with which they are associated, were assessed in the Danum Valley Conservation Area in Sabah (Malaysian Borneo). 3. Even under high logging intensities, the forests of Sabah appear to have been managed in a way that maintains timber yields in the short-term. However, other aspects of forest structure had been affected, which could have important consequences ecologically, and for the long-term sustainability of timber harvests. 4. Combining field studies with manipulative experiments allows assessment of the impacts of species changes associated with habitat modification on measures of ecosystem functioning. Dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) functional group richness and composition were manipulated in a series of field experiments. Certain functional groups and species were found to have a greater impact on ecosystem functioning than others; nevertheless a full complement of species was needed to maintain full ecosystem functioning. 5. Dung beetles appeared to be relatively robust to changes in forest structure associated with selective logging, but species richness was reduced with high-intensity logging. There was a corresponding decrease in ecosystem functioning (dung and seed removal) with a decrease in species richness, and a decrease in the biomass of large nocturnal tunnellers, suggesting that although some species are dominant, rare species are also needed to preserve full ecosystem functioning. 6. A complex interaction between birds and ants resulted in reduced herbivory of seedlings of the important timber tree, Parashorea malaanonan, in some instances. However, this interaction was not affected by either selective or high intensity logging. Seedfall of P. malaanonan, was reduced in logged forest compared to primary forest. Despite insect seed predation being higher in primary forest, there was still successful recruitment during a non-mast year. Parasitism of insect-predated seeds was found to be inversely density dependent, and was higher in logged forest where seed predation was lower. 7. The results of this thesis suggest that the forests of Sabah appear to be being logged under a management system that is compatible with sustainable timber management, but not necessarily sustainable forest management. Low intensity selective logging seems to preserve much of the original forest structure, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning compared to logging at higher intensities. However, ecosystem processes were variable in their response to logging, suggesting that management decisions should be based on the consideration of multiple taxa and processes.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 Apr 2014 10:27
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 11:39