Forest edge disturbance increases rattan abundance in tropical rain forest fragments

Campbell, Mason J., Edwards, Will, Magrach, Ainhoa, Laurance, Susan G., Alamgir, Mohammed, Porolak, Gabriel, and Laurance, William F. (2017) Forest edge disturbance increases rattan abundance in tropical rain forest fragments. Scientific Reports, 7. 6071. pp. 1-12.

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Abstract

Human-induced forest fragmentation poses one of the largest threats to global diversity yet its impact on rattans (climbing palms) has remained virtually unexplored. Rattan is arguably the world’s most valuable non-timber forest product though current levels of harvesting and land-use change place wild populations at risk. To assess rattan response to fragmentation exclusive of harvesting impacts we examined rattan abundance, demography and ecology within the forests of northeastern, Australia. We assessed the community abundance of rattans, and component adult (> 3 m) and juvenile (≤ 3 m) abundance in five intact forests and five fragments (23-58 ha) to determine their response to a range of environmental and ecological parameters. Fragmented forests supported higher abundances of rattans than intact forests. Fragment size and edge degradation significantly affected adult rattan abundance, with more in smaller fragments and near edges. Juvenile rattan abundance was also positively related with liana abundance. Our findings suggest that the proliferation of rattans within fragments is due to canopy disturbance of forest edges resulting in preferential, high-light habitat. However, adult and juvenile rattans may respond inconsistently to fragmentation. We suggest that the rattan abundance increase may provide economic benefits through sustainable harvesting practices in managed forest fragments. However, rattan increases in protected area forest fragments could negatively impact conservation outcomes.

Item ID: 49575
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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This publication was included as Chapter 5 of the following PhD thesis: Campbell, Mason James (2016) The ecological response of lianas to habitat fragmentation of a tropical rainforest. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ETH Fellowship, Australian Postgraduate Award
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery Grant
Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2017 23:17
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060202 Community Ecology (excl Invasive Species Ecology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050102 Ecosystem Function @ 25%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 25%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961306 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 25%
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