Characteristics of emergent trees in Bornean tropical forests


Large trees are disproportionately important players in global ecosystems, accounting for the majority of carbon storage in a forest stand. Recently, the tallest tree in the tropics was discovered in Malaysian Borneo. With many large trees dominating Southeast Asian forests, understanding how these trees function is critical for understanding how they will respond to future global change. We are conducting research to evaluate characteristics of emergent (large canopy) trees and tree species in Southeast Asian tropical rainforests in an effort to understand how they differ from other tropical trees and incorporate them as a new plant functional type in the Ecosystem Demography model (ED2.2).

Lidar Danum Tree trunk Tree
Airborne LiDAR data illustrating forest canopy height in Sabah, Malaysia, where many trees grow over 50 m tall
A dendrometer band for measuring the trunk circumference around a large Dipterocarp tree in the Bukit Timah ForestGEO plot
A glimpse of a tree through the canopy in Bukit Timah, Singapore
This is work being led by Postdoctoral Researcher, Dr. Elsa Ordway.