Economic Botany

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 120–136 | Cite as

Fruit trees in a Malaysian rain forest

  • L. G. Saw
  • J. V. LaFrankie
  • K. M. Kochummen
  • S. K. Yap


An inventory was made of 50 ha of primary lowland rain forest in Peninsular Malaysia, in which ca. 340,000 trees 1 cm dbh or larger were measured and identified to species. Out of a total plot tree flora of 820 species, 76 species are known to bear edible fruit. Especially diverse were the wild species of mango (Mangifera, Anacardiaceae, 12 spp.), mangosteen (Garcinia, Clusiaceae, 13 spp.), breadfruit (Artocarpus, Moraceae, 10 spp.) and rambutan (Nephelium, Sapindaceae, 5 spp.). Median population size for all species of fruit trees was 3.0 trees per ha and 0.2 adult trees per ha. Direct economic value of wild fruit trees was small; only one species has been very much collected and sold, Parkia speciosa (Fabaceae), amounting to less than US$20 per ha per year. The potential value of the species as genetic resources is very large: 24 species are cultivated, 38 edible species are congeneric with cultivated crops and at least 10 other species bear inedible fruit but are related to cultivated crops. We conclude that the Peninsular Malaysian rain forest is exceedingly rich in wild fruit trees, that these normally live at low densities, and that their principal economic value is as genetic resources.


Malaysia Economic Botany Fruit Tree Forest Research Institute Edible Fruit 
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Arboles frutales en una selva lluviosa de Malasia

Se hizo un inventario de 50 ha.

de tierra baja primaria de selva lluviosa de Malasia Peninsular, en el cual se medió y se identificó la especie de aproximadamente unos 340,000 árboles de 1 cm de diametro (a la altura del pecho) o mayores. De un total de un terreno de flora de árboles de 820 especies, se sabe que 76 especies dan frutos comestibles. Resultaron ser particularmente variades las especies silvestres de mango (Mangifera, Anacardiaceae, 12 spp.), mangostán (Garcinia, Clusiaceae, 13 spp.), arbol del pan (Artocarpus, Moraceae, 10 spp.) y rambután (Nephelium, Sapindaceae, 5 spp). El valor mediano del tamaño de la población de todas las especies de árboles frutales fue de 3.0 árboles por hectare y de 0.2 arboles adultos por hectare. El valor económico directo de los árboles frutales silvestres resultó pequeño; solamente una de las especies ha sido muy recogida y vendida,Parkia speciosa (Fabaceae), sumando menos de US$20 por hectare por año. El valor potencial de las especies como reserva genética es muy grande: 24 especies son cultivadas, 38 especies comestibles son congéneres de cosechas cultivadas y por los menos otras 10 especies dan frutos incomestibles pero están relacionadas con cosechas cultivadas. Concluimos que la selva lluviosa de la Peninsula de Malasia es extremadamente rica en árboles frutales silvestres, que éstos normalmente viven en bajas densidades y que su principal valor económico es como reserva genética.

Pokok buah-buahan dalam hutan hujan di Malaysia

Satu inventori telah dijalankan

di satu kawasan hutan hujan tanah pamah seluas 50 ha di Semenanjung Malaysia. Daripada kerja-kerja inventori ini, sebanyak 340,000 pokok yang mempunyai pepepang 1 cm atau lebih telah diukur dan dicamkan hingga ke peringkat spesies. Sejumlah 820 spesies telah dikenalpasti dan daripada jumlah ini, sebanyak 76 spesies telah diketahui menghasilkan buah yang boleh dimakan. Kepelbagaian yang luas terdapat dalam spesies liar mangga (Mangifera, Anacardiaceae, 12 spp.), manggis (Garcinia, Clusiaceae, 13 spp.), sukun (Artocarpus, Moraceae, 10 spp.) dan rambutan (Nephelium, Sapindaceae, 5 spp). Median saiz populasi untuk semua spesies buah-buahan ialah 3.0 pokok setiap hektar dan bagi pokok buahbuahan yang matang pula ialah 0.2 pokok setiap hektar. Sumbangan ekonomi secara langsung dari buah-buahan liar ini adalah kecil; hanya satu spesies sahaja iaituParkia speciosa (Fabaceae) yang biasa dikutip dan dijual dengan harga kurang dari US$20 setiap hektar setiap tahun. Spesies-spesies yang berpotensi sebagai sumber-sumber genetik adalah banyak; 24 spesies yang ditanam, 38 spesies yang boleh dimakan tergolong dalam genus yang sama (kongenerik) dengan spesies yang ditanam, dan sekurang-kurangnya 10 spesies lagi yang tidak boleh dimakan tetapi mempunyaipertalian dengan spesies tanaman. Daripada inventori ini, boleh disimpulkan bahawa hutan hujan Semenanjung Malaysia sangat kaya dengan spesies buah-buahan liar dan biasanya terdapat dalam kepadatan yang rendah, tetapi nilai ekonomi asas daripada spesies-species liar ini ialah sebagai sumbersumber genetic.


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Copyright information

© the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. G. Saw
    • 1
  • J. V. LaFrankie
    • 2
  • K. M. Kochummen
    • 1
  • S. K. Yap
    • 1
  1. 1.Forest Research Institute Malaysia, KepongSelangor, Kuala LumpurMalaysia
  2. 2.Smithsonian Tropical Research InstituteSelangor, Kuala LumpurMalaysia

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