SEAMEO BIOTROP’s 4th Quarterly Public Seminar (QPS) for 2018 focused on characterizaion of forest communities at different elevations specifically at Lore Lindu National Park (LLNP) in Central Sulawesi. The lecture was delivered by Mr Fabian Brambach, a tropical forest ecologist from Germany, on 27 September 2019 at the Centre’s campus in Bogor.
Mr Brambach introduced the participants to the unique flora and fauna of Sulawesi, the largest island in the biogeographical region of Wallacea, such as maleo (Macrocephalon maleo), Sulawesi crested macaque (Macaca nigra) and black ebony (Diospyros celebica Bakh), which are endemic to this island. The presence of various endemic species in this island is due to the complex geological history, topographic complexity, and current geographical position in the centre of the Indo-Australian Archipelago.
Mr Brambach said that one of the most irreplaceable protected areas for the conservation of amphibians, birds and mammals in Sulawesi is the LLNP. The park spans an elevational range from 200 to 2500 m above sea level with a variety of different forest habitats mainly due to differences in elevation. The valleys surrounding LLNP have been densely populated for centuries but use of forest resources has been limited due to the often-difficult access in the mountainous terrain. Nevertheless, in the last decades, deforestation activities have increased around and in the park, potentially threatening local flora and fauna. This is especially concerning in the light of our limited knowledge of the flora and vegetation of LLNP.
Being a member of a research collaboration on flora conservation among the University of Goettingen, Germany, Tadulako University, Palu, and SEAMEO-BIOTROP, Mr Brambach has been establishing extensive plot-based tree inventories at different elevations in LLNP. Mr Brambach’s research revealed that LLNP supports at least three different vegetation belts: sub-montane forest from 700 to c. 1400 m, lower montane forest from c. 1400 to 2000 m and upper montane forest above 2000 m. The vegetation belts differ markedly in their species composition, general aspect and levels of endemism.
“This research can provide a first classification of the park’s forest types including their respective levels of tree-diversity, endemism and biogeographical relationships, which support a high conservation value of LLNP based on its flora,” concluded Mr Brambach.
Mr Brambach is a researcher in Biodiversity, Macroecology and Biogeography group of the University of Goettingen, under CRC990 (EFForTS) subproject B06: Taxonomic, functional, phylogenetic and biogeographical diversity of vascular plants in rainforest transformation systems on Sumatra (Indonesia). He is pursuing his PhD degree at the same university with a research focusing on species diversity, endemism and biogeography of trees along environmental gradients in tropical mountain forests of Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Mr Brambach’s main research interests revolve around tropical forests, and their flora, especially those of Malesia. Lately, his main focus has been on tropical mountain forests of Sulawesi, where he is trying to understand different dimensions of plant diversity patterns in relation to eco-environmental factors and evolutionary history. The research on Sulawesi includes floristic work and alpha taxonomy, as well as plant ecology along environmental gradients and biogeography. Further interests of his comprise the historical biogeography of species and ecosystems, conservation biology, and the impact of human activities and climate-change on tropical habitats and their components.
The results of his research with his colleagues have been published in several reputable journals. In line with his interest and expertise, he has been registered as a member of Society for Tropical Ecology since 2014 and IUCN/SSC Global Tree Specialist Group since 2016.