, Volume 10, Issue 3, pp 327-338

Survivorship and growth of seedlings of four dipterocarp species in a tropical rainforest of Sarawak, East Malaysia

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Survivorship and growth of seedlings of four dipterocarp species (Dipterocarpus actangulus, D. globosus, Dryobalanops aromatica, Dryobalanops lanceolata) were studied for 2.5 years in a mixed dipterocarp forest in Sarawak, East Malaysia. Predispersal seed predation rates were larger forD. globosus (75%) thanD. lanceolata (27–34%) andD. aromatica (18–26%). Less than 20% of the twoDryobalanops seeds were damaged by vertebrates after seed dispersal. During the period from seed dispersal to the time when the seedlings had shed cotyledons, more dispersed seeds died in the twoDipterocarpus (ca 90%) than the twoDryobalanops (ca 60–70%). The major mortality factors during this period were uprooted and seed/seedling predation by insects or vertebrates. After the seedlings shed cotyledons, all species showed constant mortality rates of 34, 15–16, 17 and 6%/year forD. actangulus, D. lanceolata, D. aromatica andD. globosus, respectively, in the forest understorey. Mortality was lower in less shaded conditions than in more shaded ones forD. aromatica andD. actangulus, but not significantly different forD. lanceolata andD. globosus. A majority of dead seedlings were killed by fallen branches or were found standing with wilted leaves, probably due to water stress. No significant correlation was found between seed/seedling mortality and distance from mother trees or the initial density of seeds/seedings for all species. The mean leaf production was positively correlated with the estimated diffuse light factor of their habitats for each species.