The spatial distribution of termites in primary forest and mature oil palm plantation in Tabin, Sabah

Wong, Mum Keng (2010) The spatial distribution of termites in primary forest and mature oil palm plantation in Tabin, Sabah. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sabah.


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Oil palm-based industries have positive contribution to economic growth, reduced poverty and improved income equity which encourage massive conversion of forest into oil palm agriculture in Malaysia. The community ecology of termites at the local scale has been poorly studied in both the primary forest and oil palm plantation ecosystem, and there is very little information regarding the ecological processes operating within them. The objectives of this study are: 1. to discover termite diversity in the primary forest and the adjacent oil palm plantation, 2. to compare the spatial pattern of termites between primary forest and oil palm ecosystem and 3. to examine the ecological interactions between the termite community with the spatial structure of environmental variables and other soil fauna groups. This study was conducted In Lipad Virgin Jungle Reserve (5° 12.60'N, 118°30.58'E) located within the Tabin Wildlife Reserved and the adjacent Permai oil palm plantation (5°08.64'N, 118°28.28'E). Termite sampling was done based on recommendations from previous termite studies that suggested manually dug and sorted soil pits (25cm x 25cm x 10cm) at a minimum extent of 64 m and lag of 2 m. In this study, termite abundance and species richness had shown dramatic decline after conversion from primary forest to oil palm plantation. Out of a total of 29 species of termites that were encountered in this study, 26 species were found in the primary forest while only nine species in the oil palm plantation. Nevertheless, the spatial patterns generated using SADIE (Spatial Analysis by Distances Indices) analyses and ArcGIS 9.0 software showed that both soil and non-soil feeding termite groups distributed differently in which large gaps of termite distribution area are detected in oil palm plantation. These suggested that the oil palm plantation possess physical barrier that resists the colonization of poorly dispersing termites. Significant associations between soil-feeding termite and non-soil-feeding termite were detected in primary forest (X=0.1424) and oil palm plantation (X=0.245). However, termites at both sites responded differently in the association and dissociation between biotic factors (earth worm, non-predatory and predatory ants) along with environmental variables (stacked fronds, dead tree logs, mounds, trees, grass, soil pH, soil organic carbon and total soil nitrogen). In addition, based on logistic regression models, it is speculated that the occurrences of earth worms, dead wood and stacked fronds tend to increase the probability of termite occurrences; conversely, the appearance of non-predatory ants is likely to decrease the probability of termite occurrences.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Keyword: Oil palm, Tabin, termite community, ecological interaction, diversity, SADIE (Spatial Analysis by Distances Indices)
Subjects: S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Department: INSTITUTE > Institute for Tropical Biology and Conservation
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2014 14:10
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2017 11:43

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