Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 957–973 | Cite as

Enrichment planting to improve habitat quality and conservation value of tropical rainforest fragments

  • Kok Loong YeongEmail author
  • Glen Reynolds
  • Jane K. Hill
Original Paper


Many areas of tropical rainforest have been fragmented and the habitat quality of fragments is often poor. For example, on Borneo, many forest fragments are highly degraded by repeated logging of Dipterocarpaceae trees prior to fragmentation, and we examined the viability of enrichment planting as a potential management tool to enhance the conservation value of these forest fragments. We planted seedlings of three dipterocarp species with contrasting light demands and tolerances (Parashorea malaanonan (light demander), Dryobalanops lanceolata (intermediate), Hopea nervosa (shade tolerant)) in eight forest fragment sites (3–3529 ha), and compared seedling performance with four sites in continuous forest. Eighteen months after planting, survival rates of seedlings were equally high in fragment sites (mean survival = 63 %), and in continuous forest sites (mean survival = 68 %). By contrast, seedling growth and herbivory rates were considerably higher in fragments (by 60 % for growth and 45 % for herbivory) associated with higher light environments in degraded forest fragments compared with continuous forest sites. Among the three study species, H. nervosa seedlings had the highest survival rates overall, and P. malaanonan seedlings generally grew fastest and suffered highest herbivory rates. There were no interactions between species performance and the effects of fragment site area, forest structure or soil characteristics of sites suggesting that the three species responded similarly to fragmentation effects. High survival of planted seedlings implies that enrichment planting would be a successful forest management strategy to improve forest quality, and hence conservation value, of fragments.


Forest fragmentation Regeneration Danum valley Sabah Malaysia Oil palm 



This study was part of a PhD project funded by the Earthwatch Institute, supported by Shell PLC, and supervised by JKH, GR and Dr. John Tay (Universiti Malaysia Sabah). We thank the SE Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP), Yayasan Sabah, Sabah Forestry Department, the Danum Valley Management Committee and Wilmar International Limited for permission to access research sites and facilities. We also thank Adrian Karolus, Phillip Ulok, Remmy Murus, Mohd. Edri, Mohd. Azlin, Amat Ahmad, Mohd. Herdam and Udin Jaga for assistance in the field. We thank Dr. Jennifer Lucey and Sarah Scriven for their comments on the paper.

Author contribution

All authors conceived and designed the experiments and wrote the manuscript. YKL performed the experiments, carried out the fieldwork, and analyzed the data.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interests.

Supplementary material

10531_2016_1100_MOESM1_ESM.docx (592 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 591 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International Tropical Forestry Programme, Faculty of Science and Natural ResourcesUniversiti Malaysia SabahKota KinabaluMalaysia
  2. 2.South East Asia Rainforest Research PartnershipDanum Valley Field CentreLahad DatuMalaysia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Wentworth WayUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  4. 4.School of GeographyUniversity of Nottingham Malaysia CampusSemenyihMalaysia

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