[Mastwatch] Gunung Palung, West Kalimantan

Cam Webb cwebb at oeb.harvard.edu
Sun Jan 31 17:44:06 PST 2010

Hi All,

Visited Gunung Palung (110.112, -1.220) on 20-21 Jan.  This is the same 
site I reported on in October.  The spatial extent of the mast is just the 
freshwater swamp forest, lowland alluvial forest and hill forest on 
sandstone below 100 m.  There is almost no fruiting on the granite hills 
above 100 m.  The `juicy fruits' were beginning to peak in ripeness: huge 
crops of Alangium, several Mangifera, several Baccaureas, several Durio, 
and the animals were indulging.  Saw 4 separate groups of orang utans in 
just one day.  Lots of pigs with piglets.

Several species of red meranti had progressed to mature fruits, although 
it seemed that, compared to expectations from the huge flower crops I saw 
in October, most trees did not have that much fruit: I estimated ca. 10 
fruits per cubic metre of crown for, e.g., Shorea leprasula. From 
observations on the South side of the park (110.211, -1.361) on last 
Saturday, it may still be a week or two until the last of the dipterocarps 
drop.  Scaphium macropodum, with large crops, has already dropped most of 
its fruit.  Interestingly, all the Shorea laevis I saw on 20-21 Jan were 
flowering, not fruiting.

Yesterday I visited the coastal hills S of Sukadana (109.966, -1.270; also 
in the park).  The only common dipterocarp here is a Hopea (dyeri?) and 
this was not fruiting.  However, a very common Palaquium had just finished 
dropping fruit and the forest floor was covered with germinating seeds. 
The durian orchards at the foot of the hills have generally finished 
dropping fruits; it's been a huge season with prices down to USD 0.20 per 
fruit.  Lots of dodol and tempoyak.

All in all, my sense is that a lot of species are participating in this 
event, and it's definitely the biggest mast in five years or so.
However, yet again, the dipterocarps may not have produced enough fruit to 
satiate their predators and create seedling carpets.  I'll report back 
about seedling recruitment.



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