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50-HECTARE PLOT 2020-04-28T09:19:54+00:00

About 50-Hectare Plot Project

The 50-hectare plot located at Danum Valley is part of the CTFS-ForestGEO network which includes over 60 sites in almost 30 countries. This network utilises an established survey method in which all trees above 1 cm diameter are checked every five years for growth and mortality. This approach allows us to monitor long-term forest changes, which is an important undertaking in the face of current changes in climatic conditions.

The 50-ha plot is an observational study that tracks seedling recruitment and tree survival and growth over time. The main objective is to monitor patterns of spatial and temporal change in lowland dipterocarp forest. This is an important undertaking because this ecosystem is being increasingly lost to global change drivers such as over exploitation, land use change and climate change. Therefore, it provides a baseline to assess the effects of global change drivers on these hyper diverse and sensitive forest ecosystems.

Research Assistants use a ladder and clear the bark of debris when measuring diameter above large buttresses

Research Assistants use a ladder and clear the bark of debris when measuring diameter above large buttresses

Project Design

The project followed the standard CTFS-ForestGEO protocol to setup and monitor the forest dynamics. The initial survey of the 50-ha plot began in 2010 and that first full census was completed in 2017. This was followed by a second full census beginning in May 2018 and completing in April 2019. Nearly 700 species of trees have been identified and approximately 260,000 stems were mapped and measured. The 2019 general mass flowering event afforded the opportunity to implement a network of seeding establishment plots throughout the 50-hectare plot.

Facilities

The plot is approximately 3 km up the Danum river from the DVFC. The scientist facilities available at Danum Valley can be found at the Info for Scientists page.

Lianas and vines, which occur in large numbers in tropical forests, often make it difficult to take diameter measurements

Lianas and vines, which occur in large numbers in tropical forests, often make it difficult to take diameter measurements

Staff

The principal investigators of the 50-ha are David Burslem, Mikey O’Brien, Andy Hector and Glen Reynolds, and the field manager of the project is Alex Karolus with 11 full-time research assistants. The species identification is supported by Dr. Bill McDonald. Please contact Mikey O’Brien and David Burslem regarding interest in working in the 50-ha plot.

David Burslem is a professor at the University of Aberdeen in the school of Biological Sciences. His research focus spans ecology and conservation of many tropical ecosystems. Email: d.burslem@abdn.ac.uk

Mikey O’Brien is an independent researcher at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain and is the acting Director of Science Coordination with SEARRP. His research is on plant–climate interactions with a focus on drought impacts in tropical forests. Email: mobrien@searrp.org

Glen Reynolds is the Director of SEARRP. Email: glen.searrp@icloud.com

Andrew Hector is a professor at the University of Oxford. His main research interests are biodiversity, community ecology, ecosystem functioning and ecological services. Email: andrew.hector@plants.ox.ac.uk

Staff & Research Assistants

Staff & Research Assistants