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Forest Fruit Production Is Higher on Sumatra Than on Borneo

Wich, SA and Vogel, ER and Larsen, MD and Fredriksson, G and Leighton, M and Yeager, CP and Brearley, FQ and van Schaik, CP and Marshall, AJ (2011) Forest Fruit Production Is Higher on Sumatra Than on Borneo. PLOS ONE, 6. ISSN 1932-6203

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Abstract

Various studies have shown that the population densities of a number of forest vertebrates, such as orangutans, are higher on Sumatra than Borneo, and that several species exhibit smaller body sizes on Borneo than Sumatra and mainland Southeast Asia. It has been suggested that differences in forest fruit productivity between the islands can explain these patterns. Here we present a large-scale comparison of forest fruit production between the islands to test this hypothesis. Data on fruit production were collated from Sumatran and Bornean sites. At six sites we assessed fruit production in three forest types: riverine, peat swamp and dryland forests. We compared fruit production using time-series models during different periods of overall fruit production and in different tree size classes. We examined overall island differences and differences specifically for fruiting period and tree size class. The results of these analyses indicate that overall the Sumatran forests are more productive than those on Borneo. This difference remains when each of the three forest types (dryland, riverine, and peat) are examined separately. The difference also holds over most tree sizes and fruiting periods. Our results provide strong support for the hypothesis that forest fruit productivity is higher on Sumatra than Borneo. This difference is most likely the result of the overall younger and more volcanic soils on Sumatra than Borneo. These results contribute to our understanding of the determinants of faunal density and the evolution of body size on both islands.

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