Impact of selective logging on genetic diversity of two tropical tree species with contrasting breeding systems using direct comparison and simulation methods
The impact of selective logging on genetic diversity of two tropical tree species with contrasting breeding systems was examined using direct comparison and simulation methods. Shorea leprosula is a diploid and predominantly outcrossed species, whereas Shorea ovalis ssp. sericea is an autotetraploid species with apomictic mode of reproduction. Direct comparison of adjacent natural and logged-over stands showed reduction of genetic diversity of S. leprosula, but not of S. ovalis ssp. sericea. These results clearly demonstrated that a single logging event would cause the genetic erosion of S. leprosula. However, the apomictic mechanisms and the effects of tetrasomic inheritance of S. ovalis ssp. sericea might be a way of maintaining the level of genetic diversity. These results clearly implied that outcrossing species might be more susceptible to the negative impact of logging on genetic diversity than apomictic species. Simulation studies were conducted using three approaches: (1) simulated-removal of individuals based on diameter size classes; (2) simulated-removal of individuals at random; and (3) simulated-removal of individuals in clump. The simulation study based on the first approach showed that the loss of genetic diversity was higher for the Malayan Uniform System (MUS) compared with the Selective Management System (SMS). This might suggest that SMS is more orientated towards the conservation of genetic diversity. In addition, the simulation study showed that to conserve 100% of the total number of alleles, the tolerable cutting limits of S. leprosula in the 50-ha plot of Pasoh FR should be >85 cm diameter at breast height (dbh). Comparison of simulation studies based on the second and third approaches showed that the loss of genetic diversity was more rigorous if logging activities were anticipated through extraction of trees in clump rather than to extract trees at random. Implications of the studies for conserving and managing the tropical forests are discussed.