Resource Details

Drought, Fire, and Tree Survival in a Borneo Rainforest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Literature: Journal Articles

Van Nieuwstadt, Mark G.L., and Douglas Sheil. 2005. "Drought, fire, and tree survival in a Borneo rainforest, East Kalimantan, Indonesia." Journal of Ecology, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 191-201.

Contact Info



  • Section Plant Ecology, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • CIFOR Jakarta, Indonesia


Journal of Ecology

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Species Info

  • Artocarpus anisophyllus
  • Dipterocarpus confertus
  • Dipterocarpus cornutus
  • Drypetes spp.
  • Eusideroxylon zwageri
  • Gironniera nervosa
  • Koompasia malacensis
  • Madhuca kingiana
  • Shorea laevis
  • Shorea ovalis


  • The paper compared the forest stand level impact between severe drought alone and a subsequent extensive fires on forest stand in a lowland rainforest in East Kalimantan. Drought and fires are two severe disturbances resulting forest degradation in East Kalimantan.
  • The authors found that the lower amount of biomass was observed in the site disturbed by drought solely, while higher amount of biomass was detected in the site followed by fires. However, the authors argued that fires covered the drought’s effect. The authors found that around 60% of killed above ground biomass were caused by droughts even in burned areas.
  • The mortality rate on both sites depended on the resistance of the species. In general, some findings were observed as follow:
    • Droughts alone (Unburned forest):
      • Stem mortality was 18.5±5.6% dead trees after 8 months drought
      • Stem mortality increased to 26.3±5.0% dead trees after 21 months drought
      • Mortality was higher in larger stems
    • Droughts followed by subsequent fires (burned forest):
      • Stem mortality was 64.2±12.2% dead trees after 8 months drought and fire
      • Stem mortality increased to 79.0±10. 2% dead trees after 21 months drought and fire
      • Fire killed almost completely trees with <10cm DBH, but did not rise the mortality for trees >70 cm DBH.
  • It was observed that drought had the largest impact on largest stems while fire killed the smaller stems. The authors pointed out that the combination of drought and fire were deadly on tree mortality because they damaged both larger and smaller stems.

Geographical Region

  • Insular Southeast Asia
  • Ecosystems

  • Tropical Wet Forest
  • Country

  • Indonesia
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