1211 trees of 3 ft (0.91 m) girth or more were enumerated in 288 1-ch2 (about 400 m2) quadrats forming a 11.7 ha plot on the mainly Segamat soil series, Jengka Forest Reserve, Peninsular Malaysia, in 1964. Of the 261 taxa, 84% were identified to species. Five per cent of the area was of the permanently wetter Akob soil series. The plot was topographically flat and lay about 3 km west of the plot on the Batu Anam soil series, described in an earlier paper. Data on the chemical composition of the three soils are summarized here from a survey in 1967.
The vegetation on the Segamat series is of the Shorea-Dipterocarpus type of lowland dipterocarp forest. It has an unusually high abundance of the Euphorbiaceae (25% of trees) and a clear dominant species, Elateriospermum tapos. E. tapos, which regenerates profusely in the shade, grows up in small gaps and is strongly clumped, and appears well suited to the very friable, relatively nutrient-rich soil of the Segamat series, with lower soil-water holding capacity especially in dry periods.
Forest on the Segamat series is floristically very different from that on the Batu Anam series. This is most likely due to large differences in soil properties, the latter being of lower clay content, less nutrient-rich and, having a greater soil-water holding capacity at least in dry periods. It was dominated by Dipterocarpaceae.
Classification of quadrats on the Segamat series highlighted four classes; vegetation of the main E. tapos-dominated type on relatively dry soil (54% of plot area), vegetation on the wet Akob soil (21%), an association of shade-tolerant, mainly understorey trees beneath non-E. tapos-associated emergents (11%), and an association of long-lived, light-demanding pioneer trees of late-successional stages (11%); 3% of plot had no enumerated trees. Ordination showed that the plot was largely homogeneous with respect to edaphic factors but clearly displayed stages in forest succession.
The possible dynamics of the Segamat forest are inferred in terms of species autecology. Two hypotheses are advanced to explain the composition of the Segamat forest: (a) a dynamic equilibirum, (b) a non-equilibrium recovery from a recent catastrophe. The latter was thought more likely. Compared with the more benign Batu Anam environment, where co-dominants might be ‘ecologically equivalent’, the more selective soil conditions on the Segamat leads to reduced equivalence, with accidents of regeneration playing a smaller role in the local distribution of the most abundant species.