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The impact of forest conversion to oil palm plantation on the internal nitrogen cycle of tropical lowland soils

Hamilton, Rachel Elizabeth (2014)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

This thesis seeks to quantify the effect of land use change from tropical forest to oil palm plantation on nitrogen biogeochemical cycling in Sabah, Malaysia (Borneo). Nitrogen cycling process rates and indices were examined across four forests and six oil palm plantations during the inter-monsoon and end of wet season in 2010 and 2012 respectively. Firstly, the study establishes a baseline to assess the impact of land use change along a chronosequence of forest succession. Results indicate that forests follow a trajectory of nitrogen recovery and increased “openness” to nitrogen cycling through secondary forest development. Secondly, the spatial and temporal variation of nitrogen cycling within oil palm plantations is assessed. Results show that plantation management practices result in spatial variability in soil nitrogen. Examining process rates revealed an increasing trend of N\(_2\)O emission and decreasing trends of soil organic matter content as plantations matured. However, season and soil type also affected denitrification and N\(_2\)O emission. Finally, a replicated comparison of process rates in forests and plantations on riparian and terra firme soils revealed that plantation establishment significantly altered rates of nitrogen cycling and resulted in greater emissions of N\(_2\)O from \(terra\) \(firme\) plantations.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Bradley, Christopher
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
Department:School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Science
Subjects:GE Environmental Sciences
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:5280
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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