Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 531–541 | Cite as

Effects of habitat fragmentation on the movement patterns and dispersal ability of the brown spiny rat (Maxomys rajah) in the Planted Forest Zone of Sarawak, Eastern Malaysia

  • Antony Bruce Shadbolt
  • Roslina Ragai
Original Paper


Brown spiny rats (Maxomys rajah) were translocated from continuous secondary forest to small isolated patches of remnant native forest embedded within Acacia mangium plantation in the Planted Forest Zone of Sarawak, East Malaysia, and fitted with tracking spools to monitor behaviours in novel environments and to record responses to a range of habitat edge features. Forest roads, large clearings and acacia plantation compartments were found to pose barriers to dispersal of brown spiny rats over short temporal scales, whereas old regenerating haul trails were readily crossed on 50% of the encounters. Downed woody debris accounted for a greater proportion of the travel route compared with brown spiny rats tracked in secondary and primary forest in Sabah, which may represent heightened predator avoidance in new environments. Provision of downed woody debris within plantation compartments may improve the dispersal ability of brown spiny rats in this modified landscape, and thus promote metapopulation dynamics and colonisation of vacant habitat patches.


Brown spiny rat Maxomys rajah Spool and line Acacia mangium Habitat fragmentation Translocation Reintroduction Planted forests Sarawak 



Much thanks to Wayne Wooff and the management of Grand Perfect Conservation (GP Con) for allowing us the opportunity to work with them and their team in the Planted Forest Zone, for organizing the field expeditions, and for all the invaluable information and advice offered. We also wish to thank the GP Con team and all of the field staff for their hard work and patience in the field. Thanks also go to the Sarawak Timber Association (STA), and particularly to Barney Chan and Peter Kho for their parts in giving us the opportunity to carry out research work in Sarawak, and especially for their continued support and hospitality. Thank you to our supervisory team: Hamish Cochrane, David Norton and Robert Stuebing. Finally, we also wish to thank the University of Canterbury Scholarships Office, the New Zealand Postgraduate Study Abroad Award and to the McKelvey Fund (School of Forestry) for their generous funding, without which this ongoing research program would not be possible.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ForestryUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Grand Perfect Sdn BhdBintuluMalaysia

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