Sundaland Dipterocarp forests during Quaternary glacial maxima
22 Nov 2014
In findings published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (U.S.A.), the persistence of Dipterocarp forests on the greatly expanded Sunda Shelf during the brief glacial maxima of the Quaternary Period was supported by the largest database of collections of Dipterocarpaceae specimens in the world and advanced niche modeling techniques. The team of scientists, including Drs. Cannon and Slik (both formerly at XTBG), expand the evidence that strongly suggests that the current Southeast Asian forests have been greatly fragmented and reduced in their extent, although forests of the glacial maxima might have been less species-rich with many species having smaller geographic distributions. Most importantly, current forests must have experienced a great deal of mixture and migration from the slightly drier and cooler conditions of the Last Glacial Maximum which ended roughly 12,000 years ago. Little evidence was found for the existence of a savanna region on any substantial portion of the Sunda Shelf.