ASSOCIATION OF TREE COMMUNITIES WITH SOIL PROPERTIES IN A SEMI DECIDUOUS FOREST OF PERLIS, PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
Distribution of vegetation communities is associated with environmental parameters especially the soil properties of habitats. This study was conducted in a semi-deciduous forest in Perlis State Park (PSP), Perlis to determine the association of tree communities with the soil properties of three distinct forest habitats in this location. Eighteen plots of 40 m × 60 m (0.24 ha each) with sampling area of 1.92 ha (8 plots) in Setul Formation, 0.96 ha (4 plots) in Granite and 1.44 ha (6 plots) in Kubang Pasu Formation (totaling 4.32 ha) were established in the PSP. All trees with diameter at the breast height (dbh) of 5.0 cm and above were enumerated, whilst top soil samples were collected from each plot for soil analyses. A total of 412 tree species, 207 genera, and 68 families were enumerated in all study plots: 270 tree species from 152 genera and 57 families were found in the Setul forest; 204 tree species of 130 genera and 50 families in the Granite forest; and 109 tree species from 76 genera and 31 families in the Kubang Pasu forest. Euphorbiaceae was the most represented family at Setul, Granite and Kubang Pasu with 36, 19 and 12 species, respectively. Soil analyses showed significant variation in the soil properties of the study sites. The soil at Setul had loam texture, that at Kubang Pasu displayed clay-loam texture, and that at Granite has sandy-loam texture. In summary, the soils were acidic, and low to high concentrations of available nutrients were found in the forest habitats. Ordinations using canonical correspondence analysis indicated that soil factors play an important role in the distribution and diversity of plants in these study sites.
canonical correspondence analysis, semi-deciduous forest, Perlis State Park, vegetation–environment relationship
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