Tropical Forest
Peart Lab - Dartmouth College

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Temperate Forest
Tropical Forest
Grassland Succession
Analytical Methods/Models
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La Selva
Gunung Palung National Park  


Many tropical forests are highly diverse. High diversity and the lack of a reliable method to age trees and measure their growth without long-term study, combine to make tropical forests more difficult to understand mechanistically than temperate forests. Many tropical forests are also remote, and demand difficult, even dangerous logistics, as well as foreign language skills.  Yet diverse tropical forests present us with one of the most fascinating and challenging problems in ecology—to understand the mechanisms that allow coexistence of so many canopy species in relatively homogenous areas. Research based in my lab has shown that tree species are subject to strong conspecific density dependent population dynamics that act to reduce dominance and promote tree species diversity.

I have collaborated over many years with Mark Leighton of Harvard, who established the remote Cabang Panti research station in the Gunung Palung National Park in Indonesian Borneo. Around the park, landscapes are changing rapidly, as forests are cut and converted, especially to palm oil plantations.  Much of our work has investigated how forest use by (1) indigenous Dayak people and (2) commercial logging have influenced species diversity and forest structure.  We have trained many students at Cabang Panti. These include graduate students based in my lab and elsewhere, undergraduate thesis students, and others who have committed to a year or two at Cabang Panti to help manage the station while conducting independent research under our direction.

We have also worked at La Selva in Costa Rica evaluating the capacity of Lidar remote sensing for demographic research on forest trees.

Several years ago I wrote a rambling account for a Dartmouth ecology/evolution retreat, about of how I came to choose research in forests, particularly in the tropics. If you are interested, please click here.


Publications- Tropical Forest
Refereed journal articles and book chapters only.
Students mentored by Peart in italics (Dartmouth Ph.D. and undergraduate honors, and pre-graduate students at Cabang Panti station, Indonesian Borneo)

Blundell, A.G. and D.R. Peart.  2004. Density dependent population dynamics of a dominant rain forest canopy tree. Ecology 85:704-715.

Blundell, A.G. and D.R. Peart.  2004. Recruitment failure following mast fruiting in a Southeast Asian dipterocarp forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 20:229-231

Peart, D.R., C.O.Webb and A.G. Blundell.  2002. Density dependence and seedling regeneration: the case for Borneo.  In K.N. Ganeshaiah, R.U. Shaankker and K.S. Bawa (eds.). Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, diversity and human welfare. Oxford.

Webb, C.O. and D.R. Peart.  2001. High seed dispersal rates in faunally intact tropical rain forest: theoretical and conservation implications. Ecology Letters 4: 491-499.

Blundell, A.G. and D.R. Peart.  2001.  Growth strategies of a shade tolerant tree: the interactive effects of herbivory and canopy gaps.  Journal of Ecology 89: 608-615.

Paoli, G.D., M. Leighton, D.R. Peart and I. Samsoedin. 2001.  Economic and ecological analysis of gaharu wood (Aquilaria malaccensis) in Gunung Palung National Park. Conservation Biology 15: 1721-1732.

Webb, C.O. and D.R. Peart.  2000. Habitat associations of trees and seedlings in a Bornean rain forest. Journal of Ecology. 88:464-478.

Blundell, A.G. and D.R. Peart.  2000.  Tissue loss and abscission of young leaves: evidence for cryptic herbivore effects. American Journal of Botany  87:1693-1698.

Cannon, C., D.R. Peart and M. Leighton. 1999. Tree species diversity in logged rain forests. Science 284: 1587a.

Webb, C.O. and D.R. Peart.  1999.  Seedling density dependence promotes coexistence of Bornean rain forest trees. Ecology 80:2006-2017.

Gavin, D.G. and D.R. Peart. 1999. Vegetative life history of a dominant rain forest canopy tree. Biotropica 31:288-294

Cannon, C., D.R. Peart and M. Leighton. 1998. Tree species diversity in selectively logged Bornean rain forest. Science 281: 1366-1368.

Blundell, A. G. and D.R. Peart.  1998.  Distance dependence in herbivory and foliar condition for juvenile Shorea trees in Bornean dipterocarp forest. Oecologia 117:151-160.

Blate, G.O., D.R. Peart and M. Leighton.  1998. Experimental studies of post-dispersal seed predation on rain forest trees at Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia. Oikos 82:522-538.

Lawrence, D.C., D. R. Peart and M. Leighton. 1998. The impact of shifting cultivation on a rain forest landscape in West Kalimantan: spatial and temporal dynamics. Landscape Ecology 13:135-148.

Gavin, D.G. and D.R. Peart.  1997. Spatial structure and regeneration of Tetramerista glabra in peat swamp rain forest in Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Plant Ecology 131: 223-231.

Peart, D.R. 1996.  The sustainable management of rain forest lands: an overview of research at a major tropical rain forest national park.  Tropical Biodiversity 3: 145-155.

Setiadi, Y., D.R. Peart, C.O. Webb and M. Leighton.  1996.  Abundance and spatial distribution of seedling recruitment around adult trees of five Shorea species.  Tropical Biodiversity 3:169-179.

Gavin, D.G. D.R. Peart and M. Leighton.  1996. Canopy structure of peat swamp forest in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Tropical Biodiversity 3:243-249.

Tanuwijaya, S.M, R.H. Alimudin, D.R. Peart, C.O. Webb and M. Leighton. 1996. Population structure and regeneration in two potentially valuable leguminous rain forest trees, Sindora coriacea and Diallium wallichii, in Gunung Palung National Park, Indonesia.  Tropical Biodiversity 3:157-168.

Lawrence, D.C., M. Leighton and D. R. Peart.  1995.  Availability and extraction of forest products in managed and primary forest around a Dayak village near Gunung Palung, Indonesia. Conservation Biology 9:76-88

Cannon, C., D.R. Peart, M. Leighton and K. Kartawinata.  1994.  Structure of lowland rain forest after  selective logging in West Kalimantan, Indonesia.  Forest Ecology and Management: 67:49-68.

Schulze, P.C., M. Leighton and D.R. Peart.  1994. Enrichment planting in logged rainforest: a combined ecological and economic analysis.  Ecological Applications 4:581-592.