Impact of severe drought associated with the 1997-1998 El Nino in a tropical forest in Sarawak

Michiko Nakagawa, Kenta Tanaka, Toru Nakashizuka, Tatsuhiro Ohkubo, Tsuyoshi Kato, Teizou Maeda, Kaori Sato, Hideo Miguchi, Hidetoshi Nagamasu, Kazuhiko Ogino, Stephen Teo, Abang Abudul Hamid, Lee Hua Seng

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    198 Citations (Scopus)


    The impact of the unusually severe drought associated with the 1997-1998 El Nino on tropical forest dynamics in Sarawak, Malaysia was examined. Mortality during the non-drought period (1993-1997) in a core plot (1.38 ha) was 0.89 % y -1, while that during the drought period (1997-1998) in the same plot and a peripheral plot was 6.37 and 4.35 % y -1, respectively. The basal area lost in the drought interval was 3.4 times that of the annual incremental basal area in 1993-1997. Drought mortality was higher for the smaller trees, though it was less size dependent than the non-drought mortality. Dipterocarpaceae, which is the dominant family in the study plot, had a mortality 12-30 times higher in the drought than the non-drought period. There were no significant differences in mortality among the topographic types. From the results of a log-linear model (multi-factored contingency table), the death of trees was correlated with size class, indicating a change in the size-class structure of the forest. Thus, both the species composition and structure are totally affected by such an episodic drought even in a per-humid tropical forest.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-367
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Tropical Ecology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000 Sep 16


    • Disturbance
    • Drought
    • El Nino
    • Forest dynamics
    • Mortality
    • Size structure
    • Tropical forest

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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