Natural lowland rainforests in Sumatra have been cleared and turned into the transformation systems jungle rubber, rubber and oil palm plantations. Aim of this study will be to investigate the effects of the transformation of rainforest to jungle rubber systems for vascular epiphyte diversity. In this context, jungle rubber can be seen as an agroforestry system that resembles secondary forest.
Epiphytes play an important role in ecosystem processes of tropical rainforest and provide resources for tree-dependent fauna. They are very sensitive to changes in their environment. Therefore, epiphytes diversity can be used as ecological indicator to determine the effects of deforestation and forest transformation.
It is planned to compare the epiphytes diversity in native rainforest with the epiphytes diversity in jungle rubber. Epiphyte diversity will be determined by plot based species inventories on plots inside the Bukit Duabelas National Park in the southwestern Jambi province and plots inside jungle rubber systems in the surroundings of the park.
The hypotheses of this study are: (I) Epiphyte diversity and species richness will be higher in in the natural forest than in the jungle rubber systems, (II) Changes in the epiphyte diversity may be linked to the microclimatic conditions, (III) Jungle rubber systems will favor generalist species, (IV) The structure of the agroforestry systems may influence epiphyte diversity.