Forest fragmentation is a process that divides once-continuous forests into smaller forest plots, known as patches, creating areas with non-natural land cover. It is mainly caused by human activities, such as forest conversion for agriculture and pasture, road construction, and logging.
Forest fragmentation is a leading cause of biodiversity loss, a major threat to the integrity of ecosystems and also increases vulnerability to outside forces. Forest fragmentation also has negative effects on seed and pollen dispersion and thus genetic exchange. Data collected on this important research area will be of value for future development plans.
This study will analyze the demographics and genetic exchange patterns of three tree species (Palaquium annamense, Canarium benggalensis, and Prashorea stellata). This will lead to a better understanding of seed and pollen dispersion patterns in fragmented forests, providing a basis for conservation and management solutions that sustain the populations of these tree species.
Beginning in 2010, researcher Ha Van Tiep selected sample plots of various sizes – of 1, 5, 10, 20, 40, 100 or 150 m2 – for the three selected tree species. The plots are located in Nam Dong district and Bach Ma National Park, Thua Thien Hue province. In addition, data on tree growth, population dynamics and species composition was collected from 9 hectare research sites on a yearly basis to establish baseline data. After three field visits for data collection, Tiep has obtained 80% of necessary data.
In addition to raw data collection, samples of Prashorea stellata leaf tissue were collected in three forest patches in Nam Dong district to provide genetic diversity analysis. The leaf tissues are now in the laboratory for DNA analysis. The research data and lab results will benefit both the research project and provide data to other researchers at Viet Nam’s Academy of Forest Science of Viet Nam.