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Differences in soil properties among contrasting soil types in Northern Borneo

Sellan, G and Brearley, FQ and Nilus, R and Titin, J and Majalap-Lee, N (2021) Differences in soil properties among contrasting soil types in Northern Borneo. Journal of Tropical Forest Science, 33 (2). pp. 191-202. ISSN 0128-1283

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Abstract

Soil in the tropics is high in diversity, and despite the diversity of Borneo's forest-soil associations, there is a paucity of data on its soil properties. We investigated the differences between three soil types in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia, encompassing the contrasting alluvial, sandstone and heath forest typologies. We examined the distribution of nutrients between soil types and through soil depths, and assessed the extent of spatial autocorrelation in the three soil types. We confirmed the fertility gradient from alluvial to heath forest soil found by others. Soil elemental concentrations declined in deeper horizons with the exception of exchangeable sodium and aluminium that remained constant through alluvial and sandstone soil profiles. Spatial autocorrelation was present in all three soil types and strongest in the sandstone soil. Overall, we show how bedrock, erosion, leaching and topography influence soil properties across this mosaic of soil types and note their importance in influencing tree communities and their ecological functioning.

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