Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1419–1434 | Cite as

Stand structure, floristic composition and species diversity along altitudinal gradients of a Bornean mountain range 30 years after selective logging

  • Renee Sherna Laing
  • Kian Huat OngEmail author
  • Roland Jui Heng Kueh
  • Nixon Girang Mang
  • Patricia Jie Hung King
  • Muaish Sait


The mountain ecosystem is a hotspot of biodiversity and provides a significant contribution to the humans’ livelihoods. However, there is still a lack of information regarding floral diversity and how it has been affected due to a logging operation in Sarawak. A study was conducted to determine vegetation recovery at the Heart of Borneo conservation area at different elevations: 750–1200 m (S1), 1200–1500 m (S2) and >1500 m (S3). A total of 891 trees were enumerated. The trees comprised 55 families, 98 genera and 203 species. The lowest elevation site, S1, contained the highest number of species (117) and families (42), while the highest elevation site, S3, contained the lowest diversity (25 families and 59 species). A similar forest structure was recorded, whereby diameter at breast height (dbh), basal area and height decreased as elevation increased. The most speciose families in S1 were Dipterocarpaceae (11 species) and Lauraceae (10 species), while Lauraceae and Fagaceae were the dominant tree families at S2 and S3. Secondary tree species are still abundantly found in the logged plots, especially at S2 (45.5%), indicating that after 30 years, these stands are still in the recovery stages. The logged plots retained typical secondary forest appearances with lower canopy diameters and heights and dbh than the unlogged forest. Although the species richness approached that of the unlogged plots, especially at S1 (90.9%) and S3 (94.9%), there were still major differences in the floristic compositions between logged and unlogged plots (35.4%, 21.5% and 44.7% for S1, S2 and S3, respectively). Although potential seed sources were in close proximity, succession at S2 has proceeded much slower than at S1 and S3. Lower concentrations of soil nutrients, especially N, may be the main reason for the slow recovery. In conclusion, the results suggested that the selectively logged forest at the Payeh Maga Highland required more than three decades to recover and achieve a climate forest stage.


Forest structure Mountain highland Tree diversity Vegetation recovery Bornean mountain 


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The authors thank the Director of Forest Department Sarawak for the approval on this project. This project was conducted under research permit NCCD.907.4.4 (Jld.11)–3. This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia [Science Fund (06-01-04-SF2281)]. We would like to acknowledge the financial assistance, support and cooperation from State Government of Sarawak, Director of Forests Sarawak, staff of Forest Department Sarawak (especially Nunsong Ebah, Uyo’ Jau, late Jalong Ajeng, Mahmod Saadi, Michael Ngelai and Martin Jandom), Universiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak Campus (especially Khairul Annual Mohamad Suhailiee, Sylvester Sam, Valerie Jayne John, Andyson Luna, Abdul Wahed Ehwan, Lijan John Ahmui, Faery Sapikin, Cassy Rechie Sinius), Syarikat Samling Timber Sdn. Bhd. (especially Ling Kiang Cheng and Wilfred Sedau) and the community in Long Tuyo, Lawas, Sarawak for assistance in this study. Thanks to Harem Peri for map preparation.


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© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Agriculture and Food SciencesUniversiti Putra Malaysia Bintulu Sarawak CampusBintulu, SarawakMalaysia
  2. 2.Forest Department SarawakWisma Sumber AlamKuching, SarawakMalaysia

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