Lae, Papua New Guinea
Lae, Papua New Guinea

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Whitfeld T.J.S.,Brown University | Lasky J.R.,Columbia University | Damas K.,PNG Forest Research Institute | Sosanika G.,The New Guinea Binatang Research Center | And 3 more authors.
Biotropica | Year: 2014

Much of the world's tropical forests have been affected by anthropogenic disturbance. These forests are important biodiversity reservoirs whose diversity, structure and function must be characterized across the successional sequence. We examined changes in structure and diversity along a successional gradient in the lowlands of New Guinea. To do this, we measured and identified all stems ≥5 cm diameter in 19 0.25 ha plots ranging in age from 3 to >50 yr since disturbance. We also measured plant functional traits related to establishment, performance, and competitive ability. In addition, we examined change in forest structure, composition, species diversity, and functional diversity through succession. By using rarefaction to estimate functional diversity, we compared changes in functional diversity while controlling for associated differences in stem and species density. Basal area and species density increased with stand age while stem density was highest in intermediate secondary forests. Species composition differed strongly between mature and secondary forests. As forests increased in basal area, community-weighted mean wood density and foliar carbon increased, whereas specific leaf area and proportion of stems with exudate decreased. Foliar nitrogen peaked in medium-aged forests. Functional diversity was highest in mature forests, even after accounting for differences in stem and species diversity. Our study represents one of the first attempts to document successional changes in New Guinea's lowland forest. We found robust evidence that as succession proceeds, communities occupy a greater range of functional trait space even after controlling for stem and species density. High functional diversity is important for ecological resiliency in the face of global change. © 2014 The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.


Nuberg I.K.,University of Adelaide | Gunn B.,CSIRO | Tavune M.,PNG Forest Research Institute | Sumareke A.,PNG Forest Research Institute | Kravchuk O.,University of Adelaide
Biomass and Bioenergy | Year: 2015

A 2 year short-rotation coppicing (SRC) fuelwood production system was evaluated, at 2 tree densities (3333 and 6666 trees ha-1) for the Western Highlands Province (WHP) and National Capital District (NCD) of Papua New Guinea. Of the 10 species tested, the best production of firewood was from Eucalyptus grandis and Eucalyptus robusta in WHP and Eucalyptus tereticornis in the NCD, with values of 2.97m3, 2.55m3, and 0.92m3 for a 500m2 woodlot respectively at the denser spacing. E.grandis and E.robusta produced best tree form in WHP while Eucalyptuspellita produced best form in NCD. Best coppice performance was observed in E. robusta in WHP and E. tereticornis in NCD. The burning characteristics of SRC firewood and charcoal were also assessed, as well as how SRC firewood will appeal to consumers. In the highlands SRC firewood and charcoal yield higher estimated returns to labour (USD20.00 and USD11.16 person-1day-1) compared with main alternative crops of sweet potato and coffee (USD9.77 and USD6.98 person-1day-1 respectively). SRC pole production has a low return to labour (USD7.44 person-1day-1) but could complement SRC production as part of a thinning regime. The main limitation in promulgating SRC systems could be market acceptance and finding a small-business model that integrates well with the indigenous non-market economy. The poor growth rates around the NCD due to limiting biophysical conditions make a 2 year rotation cycle unfeasible. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Slik J.W.F.,University of Brunei Darussalam | Arroyo-Rodriguez V.,National Autonomous University of Mexico | Aiba S.-I.,Kagoshima University | Alvarez-Loayza P.,Duke University | And 175 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fisher's alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between ∼40,000 and ∼53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of ∼19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of ∼4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa. © 2015, National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.


PubMed | National University of Colombia, Brown University, Manchester Metropolitan University, Instituto Federal do Espirito Santo and 110 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2015

The high species richness of tropical forests has long been recognized, yet there remains substantial uncertainty regarding the actual number of tropical tree species. Using a pantropical tree inventory database from closed canopy forests, consisting of 657,630 trees belonging to 11,371 species, we use a fitted value of Fishers alpha and an approximate pantropical stem total to estimate the minimum number of tropical forest tree species to fall between 40,000 and 53,000, i.e., at the high end of previous estimates. Contrary to common assumption, the Indo-Pacific region was found to be as species-rich as the Neotropics, with both regions having a minimum of 19,000-25,000 tree species. Continental Africa is relatively depauperate with a minimum of 4,500-6,000 tree species. Very few species are shared among the African, American, and the Indo-Pacific regions. We provide a methodological framework for estimating species richness in trees that may help refine species richness estimates of tree-dependent taxa.


Dong S.-Y.,CAS South China Botanical Garden | Zuo Z.-Y.,CAS South China Botanical Garden | Zuo Z.-Y.,University of Chinese Academy of Sciences | Chao Y.-S.,Kaohsiung Medical University | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

To determine the taxonomic identities and the systematic positions of some collections of Lindsaea sect. Synaphlebium (Lindsaeaceae) from Papua New Guinea, we conducted morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analyses on the whole section. A total of 22 morphological characters were selected and coded for each of all known taxa in L. sect. Synaphlebium, and were analyzed using maximum parsimony. The datasets containing either of or combined two plastid DNA sequences (trnL-trnF spacer and trnH-psbA spacer) of 37 taxa were analyzed using maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, and Bayesian inference. Morphological comparisons revealed two new species which are formally published here as L. subobscura and L. novoguineensis. Lindsaea subobscura is similar to sympatric L. obscura and L. modesta but differs in the obviously reduced upper pinnules and other characters. Lindsaea novoguineensis is most similar to L. pacifica from Melanesia but differs in having rhomboid pinnules with truncate apices and concave soral receptacles. Molecular analyses resolved L. sect. Synaphlebium and allied species into five wellsupported clades, namely L. rigida clade, L. obtusa clade, L. pulchella clade, L. multisora clade, and L. cultrata clade. The new species L. novoguineensis is included in L. obtusa clade; L. subobscura is in L. pulchella clade; whereas the majority of L. sect. Synaphlebium is clustered in L. cultrata clade. As the section Synaphlebium sensu Kramer is strongly suggested as polyphyletic, we propose the concept of a monophyletic L. sect. Synaphlebium in a broad sense that comprises five lineages. The morphological circumscription of L. sect. Synaphlebium sensu lato and the divergence in morphology, habit, and distribution between the five lineages are briefly discussed. Further molecular study is needed to test the systematic positions of 16 other species which are supposed to be within L. sect. Synaphlebium sensu lato but have not been included in this and previous molecular analyses. © 2016 Dong et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Callmander M.W.,Conservatoire et Jardin botaniques de la Ville de Geneva | Keim A.P.,Indonesian Institute of Sciences | Heatubun C.D.,University of Indonesia | Homot P.,PNG Forest Research Institute | Buerki S.,Natural History Museum in London
Phytotaxa | Year: 2016

New Guinea is one of the centres of diversity of Benstonea (Pandanaceae), a genus distributed from India to Fiji. Ten species were previously recognised on this island and further field observations, accompanied by the study of available herbarium material have brought new insights into species delimitations within a group of caespitose species with a solitary terminal infructescence. The taxonomical identity of Benstonea odoardoi is elucidated and is considered here as a synonym of Benstonea lauterbachii. Three new combinations and a new name—based on names of Pandanus species previously treated as synonyms of Benstonea odoardoi—are proposed for four distinct species belonging to this group of caespitose species and restricted to Indonesian New Guinea and Papua New Guinea. Finally, Pandanus bintuniensis is here considered as a synonym of Benstonea permicron. © 2016 Magnolia Press.

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