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Impact of logging in a Bornean peat swamp forest

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Tropical forests are increasingly affected by, or recovering from, human disturbance such as logging. As the conservation value of logged forests is broadly recognised, it is important to assess the long-lasting alterations to their natural processes. In particular, logging creates artificial canopy gaps, a feature crucial for functional diversity and for carbon turnover. Laser remote sensing (lidar) has proved to be a key tool for detailed measuring of canopy structure across large spatial scales. Here, I aimed to characterise the impact of ongoing logging on the canopy structure of a Bornean peat swamp forest using lidar data. I find that logging leads to an increase in canopy gaps only in short forest on low-fertility substrate, while no impact is detected on taller forests in more fertile areas. I explore possible causes for this finding. Logged forests on low-fertility substrate are likely to bear long-lasting structural scars and experience a shift in recruited species as well as an increased fire susceptibility.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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