Research

Plant community structure in a lowland forest: a 50-ha permanent forest dynamics plot

Plant community structure in a lowland forest: a 50-ha permanent forest dynamics plot.

Ours is the first permanent 50-ha forest dynamics plot behind the Wallace’s line [ link ].

We are presently working on the first survey of a 50-ha plot forest plot, surveying all plant stems with diameter at the breast height (DBH) >1cm in a lowland forest located in the Wanang Conservation Area (Madang Province, S 5°15' latitude, E 145°16' longitude).

The plot is located in the centre of Wanang Conservation Area which includes 10,018 ha of mostly primary lowland tropical rainforest at <500 m asl. The forest surrounding the plot has largely intact vertebrate populations. The climate at these sites is lowland humid, mean annual rainfall is 3,000-4,000 mm and mean monthly air temperature ~26 oC. Soils are latosols. The plot is also enrolled in the CTFS program for insect monitoring.

Our partners include the PNG Forest Research Institute, the National Forest Authority, the University of Papua New Guinea, and the John Swire and Sons. The funding is provided by US NSF, John Swire and Sons, CTFS and Czech Academy of Science. The research logistics is supported by the Swire Research Station adjacent to the plot. The plot is available only by walking along forest tracks (walking time: 4 hours for local villagers, 6 hours for an average tropical ecologist, 8 hours for general population) or by helicopter.

This is the first CTFS plot situated on customarily owned land, which ten clans of Wanang Village declared as Conservation Area. The plot is being surveyed by BRC paraecologists and field assistants recruited from the indigenous landowners. Our research activities are complemented by royalty payments to local clans for forest conservation and community projects, particularly village school.

Principal Investigators:

George Weiblen and Vojtech Novotny

Photo gallery:

[ 50-ha forest plot ]
[ Wanang Conservation ]