[Mastwatch] Gunung Palung, West Kalimantan
cwebb at oeb.harvard.edu
Sun Jan 31 17:44:06 PST 2010
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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