Vegetation on ultramafic edaphic ‘islands’ in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia) in relation to soil chemistry and elevation

van der Ent, Antony, Erskine, Peter, Mulligan, David, Repin, Rimi and Karim, Rositti (2016) Vegetation on ultramafic edaphic ‘islands’ in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia) in relation to soil chemistry and elevation. Plant and Soil, 403 1: 77-101. doi:10.1007/s11104-016-2831-3

Author van der Ent, Antony
Erskine, Peter
Mulligan, David
Repin, Rimi
Karim, Rositti
Title Vegetation on ultramafic edaphic ‘islands’ in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Malaysia) in relation to soil chemistry and elevation
Journal name Plant and Soil   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1573-5036
Publication date 2016-03-10
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11104-016-2831-3
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 403
Issue 1
Start page 77
End page 101
Total pages 25
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer International Publishing
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background and aims: Kinabalu Park is the world’s most species-rich hotspot with over 5000 plant species recorded for an area 1200 km2. The aim of this study was to characterise the vegetation on ultramafic edaphic ‘islands’ in relation to soil chemistry and elevation.

Methods: In total 87 non-permanent vegetation plots were established covering 12 ultramafic edaphic ‘islands’ from 474 to 2950 m asl in which 2854 plant species in 742 genera and 188 families were recorded from 14 662 collections.

Results: The results show that plant diversity decreases with elevation, but a mid-elevation (circum 1500 m asl) ‘hump’ occurs for some plant groups (orchids, pteridophytes) as a result of the presence of cloud forests. Six main vegetation classes with associated soil types were discerned: (i) Sub-Alpine Scrub; and (ii) Graminoid Scrub, both associated with Hypermagnesic Cambisols (‘hypermagnesian soils’); (iii) Montane Cloud Forest, associated with Cambisols often with accumulation of humus; (iv) Mixed Dipterocarp Forest, associated with deep Ferralsols (‘laterites’); (v) Pioneer Casuarina Scrub; (vi) Mature Mixed Casuarina Forest, both associated with Hypermagnesic Leptosols.

Conclusions: We hypothesised that ‘adverse’ soil chemistry would exacerbate vegetation stunting, and the results confirmed that stunted vegetation and elevational floristic compression occurs on chemically adverse soils (mainly hypermagnesian soils). However, no clear correlation with plant diversity was found, as some of the most ‘adverse’ soils on the summit of Mount Tambuyukon had up to 132 species per 250 m2.
Keyword Edaphic factor
Floristic zonation
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Centre for Mined Land Rehabilitation Publications
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Sustainable Minerals Institute Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 11 Mar 2016, 19:48:59 EST by Mr Antony Van Der Ent on behalf of Centre For Mined Land Rehabilitation