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Title: Carbon cycling in a Bornean tropical forest : exploring carbon allocation and cycling of tropical forest in the 52-ha Lambir Hills forest dynamics plot
Author: Kho, Lip Khoon
ISNI:       0000 0004 2035 5335
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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The tropical forests on the island of Borneo are among of the richest in the world in terms of tree diversity, and their capacity to store a large reservoir of carbon. The Southeast Asian forests are fundamentally different from Neotropical and African forests, with their single-family dominance by dipterocarp trees, and with inherently greater stature and biomass. The carbon productivity and allocation in Asian tropical forests is still poorly quantified, and their responses to environmental drivers are still poorly understood. Almost all recent advances in tropical forest carbon cycling research have occurred in the Neotropics, with very few studies in Asia. The principal aim of this thesis is to quantify the carbon budget of a lowland dipterocarp forest in the Lambir Hills National Park, Miri, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo. I examined and explored the productivity and carbon cycling processes and their responses to environmental factors across two major and contrasting soil types, in particular the clay and sandy loam soils. I recorded and analysed the Net Primary Productivity (NPP) and respiration for the above- and below-ground components, and observed the responses to seasonal variation and environmental drivers. Total soil respiration was relatively high and contributed a great deal to ecosystem respiration. Variation in soil respiration rates appeared closely related to soil moisture content. I found a strong diurnal cycle in soil respiration. On the basis of the first soil carbon dioxide (CO2) efflux partitioning study undertaken in a tropical forest, the diurnal cycle in total soil respiration appeared to be entirely driven by the diurnal cycle in litter respiration, and in turn litter is strongly controlled by moisture. There was little seasonal variation in allocation of net primary productivity (NPP), but there was evidence showing potential inter-annual variability for several components of NPP. Further, the allocation of NPP showed a strong seasonal shift between the forest plots on clay and sandy loam soils. Combining all the data measured and obtained in this D.Phil. thesis, the overall carbon budget assessed in this lowland dipterocarp forest showed a high level of agreement with other studies in Asia using micrometeorological techniques and the situation appears to be comparable to tropical forests in Amazonia. The key difference is that the aboveground NPP is higher and is the largest component contributing to the overall carbon budget, with relatively higher carbon use efficiency (CUE). The lowland dipterocarp forest in Lambir shows higher allocation in the above-ground NPP, and there were also differences in NPP and its allocation between sandy and clay-rich plots.
Supervisor: Malhi, Yadvinder; Aragão, Luiz E. O. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Geography ; Asia ; Environmental change ; Carbon cycling ; above- and below-ground biomass ; net primary productivity ; soil respiration ; tropical forest ; Borneo