Megaherbivores are known to influence the structure, composition, and diversity of vegetation. In Central Africa, forest elephants act as ecological filters by breaking tree saplings and stripping them of foliage. Much less is known about impacts of megafauna on Southeast Asian rain forests. Here, we ask whether herbivory by Asian megafauna has impacts analogous to those of African forest elephants. To answer this, we studied forest (1) structure, (2) composition, (3) diversity, and (4) tree...
Data from: Using local ecological knowledge to build mutualistic networks in hyper-diverse and logistically challenging ecosystemsLisa Ong, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz & McConkey Kim R.
1. Collecting interaction data to build frugivory or seed dispersal networks is logistically challenging in ecosystems that have very high plant and animal diversity and/or where fieldwork is difficult or dangerous. Consequently, the majority of available networks are from ecosystems with low species diversity or they represent a sub-set of the community. 2. Here, we propose an approach using local ecological knowledge (LEK) of indigenous communities to build interaction databases and weighted networks that would...
Ambiguous images are widely recognized as a valuable tool for probing human perception. Perceptual biases that arise when people make judgements about ambiguous images reveal their expectations about the environment. While perceptual biases in early visual processing have been well established, their existence in higher-level vision has been explored only for faces, which may be processed differently from other objects. Here we developed a new, highly versatile method of creating ambiguous hybrid images comprising two...
The ability to disperse large seeds, rather than body mass alone, defines the importance of animals in a hyper-diverse seed dispersal networkLisa Ong, Kim McConkey & Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
1. Large-bodied animals play irreplaceable roles in seed dispersal, partly due to their capacity to disperse large seeds. Understanding this role at a community level has been limited by the paucity of network studies that include large vertebrates, and the almost complete absence of studies including synzoochoric dispersers. Synzoochoric dispersers can disperse seeds disproportionately large for their body size, potentially overlapping the roles of large-bodied animals. A comprehensive network, inclusive of large vertebrates and synzoochorous...
Megafruit and megafauna diversity are positively associated, while megafruit traits are related to abiotic factors, in Tropical AsiaKim McConkey, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, Richard Corlett, Sushma H. S., Lisa Ong & Jedediah Brodie
Aim For tens of millions of years, herbivorous megafauna were abundant across the globe, fulfilling important ecological roles including seed dispersal. Megafruits are very large fruits that are dispersed most effectively by megafauna. However, megafruits also occur in ecosystems where megafauna are extinct or were never present, emphasizing our incomplete understanding of megafauna-megafruit relationships. Here we use the complex biogeography of tropical Asia to investigate how megafruit diversity and traits are associated with the diversity...
1. Protected Areas (PAs) are a cornerstone of global conservation strategies. PAs, however, are not equally effective for all threatened taxa, and it is important to understand taxa-specific effectiveness of PAs networks. 2. In this study we evaluate the role of the PAs network on the protection of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and their habitats in Southeast Asia’s Sundaic region. Since Asian elephants tend to prefer secondary forests or forest gaps, we predicted that PAs...
Large-scale reforestation can increase water yield and reduce drought risk for water-insecure regions in the Asia-PacificHoong Chen Teo, Srivatsan Raghavan, Xiaogang He, Zhenzhong Zeng, Yanyan Cheng, Xiangzhong Luo, Alex Lechner, Matthew Ashfold, Aakash Lamba, Rachakonda Sreekar, Qiming Zheng, Anping Chen & Lian Pin Koh
Large-scale reforestation can potentially bring both benefits and risks to the water cycle, which needs to be better quantified under future climates to inform reforestation decisions. We identified 477 water-insecure basins worldwide accounting for 44.6% (380.2 Mha) of the global reforestation potential. As many of these basins are in the Asia-Pacific, we used regional coupled land-climate modelling for the period 2041–2070 to reveal that reforestation increases evapotranspiration and precipitation for most water-insecure regions over the...
The Heart of Borneo initiative has promoted the integration of protected areas and sustainably-managed forests across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Recently, however, member states of the Heart of Borneo have begun pursuing ambitious unilateral infrastructure-development schemes to accelerate economic growth, jeopardizing the underlying goal of trans-boundary integrated conservation. Focusing on Sabah, Malaysia, we highlight conflicts between its Pan-Borneo Highway scheme and the regional integration of protected areas, unprotected intact forests, and conservation-priority forests. Road developments...
Data from: Reframing the evidence base for policy-relevance to increase impact: a case study on forest fragmentation in the oil palm sectorJennifer M. Lucey, Georgina Palmer, K. Loong Yeong, David P. Edwards, Michael J. M. Senior, Sarah A. Scriven, Glen Reynolds & Jane K. Hill
It is necessary to improve knowledge exchange between scientists and decision-makers so that scientific evidence can be readily accessed to inform policy. To maximise impact of scientific evidence in policy development, the scientific community should engage more fully with decision-makers, building long-term working relationships in order to identify and respond to ‘policy windows’ with science that is reframed for policy-relevance. We illustrate the process and challenges using a case study in which we synthesised evidence...
Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) have inhabited almost all forests in tropical Asia until recently, yet little is known about their role in ecological processes, particularly in the Sundaic forests of Southeast Asia. These forests are peculiar in their phenology, with supra-annual and highly irregular episodes of mast fruiting. Here we present a long-term (six-year) monitoring of the seeds dispersed by elephants in dipterocarp forests of northern Peninsular Malaysia. We conducted monthly dung surveys at two...
Diverse assemblages of seed-dispersing megafauna once existed in Asian rainforests, but are now almost solely represented by elephants. Asia’s rhinos persist in remnant, ecologically-extinct populations and the most threatened of these is the Sumatran rhino, Dicerorhinus sumatrensis. To understand the seed dispersal role of Sumatran rhinos, we consolidated information on fruit consumption, seed dispersal and fruit traits from a two-month field study (Sumatra), local ecological knowledge (Peninsular Malaysia), and published and unpublished accounts. We evaluated...
University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus11
Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden3
Chinese Academy of Sciences2
University of Montana1
University of Georgia1
Sabah Wildlife Department1
National University of Singapore1
Salim Ali Center for Ornithology and Natural History1
Queen Mary University of London1