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What is the effect of management to enhance forest restoration on invertebrate communities?

What is the effect of management to enhance forest restoration on invertebrate communities?

Supervisors: Dr Edgar Turner and Prof. Andrew Hector

Project summary:

The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment (SBE) is a large-scale, long-term field project that aims to investigate the link between tropical tree diversity and functioning of tropical ecosystems. Formally established in 2000, the project is located within the Malua Forest Reserve in Sabah, Malaysia, roughly 20km from the Danum Valley Field Centre. The area has been logged at least twice: once in the 1980s and again in the 1990s. In 2002, 124 4 ha plots were established across the area, each of which received one of five different restoration treatments allocated in a randomized block design. These were: no treatment (control), enrichment planting with 1 tree species, enrichment planting with 4 tree species, enrichment planting with 16 tree species, and enrichment planting with 16 tree species as well as vine cutting to facilitate canopy establishment.

This project will investigate the effects of the different treatments on the canopy arthropod community by using a canopy fogging machine to sample invertebrates from a subset of each of the different plot types. This study will build on previous work that also collected canopy arthropods, to establish the long-term effects of the manipulations on tropical arthropod communities. As arthropods are extremely diverse in tropical canopies and carry out a range of important functions, this study has important implications for the functioning of modified forests following disturbance and restoration. 


What the student will be doing:

The student will systematically sample canopy arthropods from a subset of the SBE experimental plots, to assess the impact of restoration treatments on tropical arthropod biodiversity and community composition. Lab work will include identification of insect specimens, with support from the Insect Ecology Group



Hector, A. et al. (2011). The Sabah Biodiversity Experiment: a long-term test of the role of tree diversity in restoring tropical forest structure and functioning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences,
366(1582), 3303–15.