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Impact of severe drought associated with the 1997–1998 El Niño in a tropical forest in Sarawak

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2000


Michiko Nakagawa
Affiliation:
Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Kamitanakami-Hirano, Otsu, Shiga 520-2113 Japan
Kenta Tanaka
Affiliation:
Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, Kamitanakami-Hirano, Otsu, Shiga 520-2113 Japan
Tohru Nakashizuka
Affiliation:
Center for Ecological Research, Kyoto University, CREST, JST
Tatsuhiro Ohkubo
Affiliation:
Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Ibaraki, Japan
Tsuyoshi Kato
Affiliation:
Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Teizou Maeda
Affiliation:
Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Ibaraki, Japan
Kaori Sato
Affiliation:
Faculty of Natural Science, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan
Hideo Miguchi
Affiliation:
Faculty of Agriculture, Niigata University, Niigata, Japan
Hidetoshi Nagamasu
Affiliation:
Kyoto University Museum, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
Kazuhiko Ogino
Affiliation:
Faculty of Environmental Science, Shiga Pre. University, Shiga, Japan
Stephen Teo
Affiliation:
Forest Research Center, Sarawak, 93762 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Abang Abudul Hamid
Affiliation:
Forest Department Sarawak, 93660 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Lee Hua Seng
Affiliation:
Forest Department Sarawak, 93660 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia

Abstract

The impact of the unusually severe drought associated with the 1997–1998 El Niño on tropical forest dynamics in Sarawak, Malaysia was examined. Mortality during the non-drought period (1993–1997) in a core plot (1.38 ha) was 0.89 % y−1, while that during the drought period (1997–1998) in the same plot and a peripheral plot was 6.37 and 4.35 % y−1, respectively. The basal area lost in the drought interval was 3.4 times that of the annual incremental basal area in 1993–1997. Drought mortality was higher for the smaller trees, though it was less size dependent than the non-drought mortality. Dipterocarpaceae, which is the dominant family in the study plot, had a mortality 12–30 times higher in the drought than the non-drought period. There were no significant differences in mortality among the topographic types. From the results of a log-linear model (multi-factored contingency table), the death of trees was correlated with size class, indicating a change in the size-class structure of the forest. Thus, both the species composition and structure are totally affected by such an episodic drought even in a per-humid tropical forest.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
2000 Cambridge University Press

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