Soil Morphological and Physicochemical Properties at Reforestation Sites After Enrichment Planting of Shorea Macrophylla in Sampadi Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Malaysia

  • Mugunthan Perumal
  • Mohd Effendi Wasli
  • Ho Soo Ying
  • Jonathan Lat
  • Hamsawi Sani
Keywords: Reforestation, Sarawak, Shorea macrophylla, soil physicochemical properties, tropical rainforests


Implementation of effective soil conservation management is required in order to rehabilitate and manage degraded forest land in the tropics. For the humid tropics of Sarawak, Malaysia, extensive information on the soil characteristics for rehabilitation of degraded forest lands is essential to guide future forest management programme. In this study, a preliminary assessment on the current status of the soil morphological and physicochemical properties at one of the reforestation sites in Sarawak which was established after enrichment planting of Shorea macrophylla in comparison to an adjacent secondary forest was conducted. The soil profiles in the study sites were established at the reforestation areas of different age stand (year 1996; SM96, 1997; SM97, 1998; SM98 and 1999; SM99) planted with Shorea macrophylla located in Sampadi Forest Reserve as well as existing secondary forest adjacent to the reforestation sites (secondary forest, SF). Soil profile description was conducted at each study sites and soil samples were collected from each identified soil horizon for determination of the soil physicochemical properties. The results showed that the soils in the study area consisted of mainly grey-white podzolic soils which derived from combination of sandstone, coarse-grained, humult ultisols and sandy residual parent material. According to the Sarawak Soil Classification, the morphological properties in the studied sites resemble of Bako soil series as a dominant unit in association with Saratok series in which, corresponds to Typic Paleaquults of Soil Taxonomy by USDA-NRCS Classification. The general soil physicochemical properties indicated that the soils at both reforestation sites and secondary forest were strongly acidic in nature with pH (H2O) of less than (pH < 5.5) with low nutrient status. The acidic nature of the soils might be ascribed to the presence of high exchangeable Al which concomitantly, increased the level of Al saturation of the studied soils. Observation within each soil profiles indicated that soil acidity decreased with depth, resulting in higher pH (H2O) at deeper horizons for all studied sites. For the soil total carbon and total nitrogen, soils at secondary forest depicted higher values in total carbon and total nitrogen at surface soils as compared to the reforestation sites which indicate large pool of organic matter at surface soil derived from the above vegetation. In terms of the soil physical properties, the soils observed were relatively of sandy texture and did not varied widely among the studied sites. In addition, the soil bulk density at reforestation sites was relatively higher than secondary forest due to higher penetration of roots and accumulation of organic matter contents in secondary forest. Based on the current progress of this study, it is recommended that determination on the soil characteristics should be taken into consideration as an important indicator prior or during the establishment of reforestation area in order to ensure the success of reforestation activity in tropical rainforests.


Alexander, E.B. (1989). Bulk density equations for Southern Alaska soils. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, 69: 177-180.

Andriesse, J.P. (1972). The soils of West Sarawak (East Malaysia). Memoir l. Soils Division, Department of Agriculture, Sarawak.

Arifin, A., Tanaka, S., Jusop, S., Majid, N.M., Ibrahim, Z., & Sakurai, K. (2008). Rehabilitation of degraded tropical rainforest in Peninsular Malaysia with a multi-storied plantation technique of indigenous dipterocarp species. Journal of Forest Environment, 50: 141-152.

Atkinson, H.J., Giles, G.R., MacLean, A.J., & Wright, J.R. (1958). Chemical methods of soil analysis. Contrib. No 169 (revised), Chem. Div., Sci. Serv., Canada Department of Agriculture, and Ottawa, ON. In: Mckeague, J.A. (Ed.), 1976. Manual of soil sampling and methods of analysis. Soil Research Institute, Agriculture Canada, Ottawa, ON.

Beckett, P.H.T. & Hopkinson, D. (1961). Some sarawak soils. i soils of the region centered on the Usun Apau plateaux. Journal of Soil Science, 12: 41-51.

Bray, R.H. & Kurtz, L.T. (1945). Determination of total, organic and available forms of phosphorus. Soil science, 59(1): 39-46.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2001). Global forest resources assessment 2000. Food Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy.

Gee, G.E. & Bauder, J.W. (1986). Particle-size Analysis. In: Klute, A., Campbell, G.S., Jackson, R.D., Mortland, M.M. and Nielsen, D.R. (Eds.). Method of soil analysis. Part 1. Physical and mineralogical methods., Soil Sci. Soc. of America, Inc. and America Soc. Agronomy, Inc., Madison, Wisconsin. Pp 399-404.

Geist, H.J. & Lambin, E.F. (2002). Proximate causes and underlying driving forces of tropical deforestation. Bioscience, 52: 143-150.[0143:PCAUDF]2.0.CO;2

Hattori, D., Sabang, J., Tanaka, S., Kendawang, J.J., Ninomiya, I., & Sakurai, K. (2005). Soil characteristics under three vegetation types associated with shifting cultivation in a mixed dipterocarp forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 51: 231-241.

ITTO. (2002). Guidelines for the restoration, management and rehabilitation of degraded and secondary tropical forests. ITTO. Policy Development Series 13, Yokohama, Japan.

Ishizuka, S., Tanaka, S., Sakurai, K., Hirai, H., Hirotani, H., Ogino, K., Lee, H.S., & Kendawang, J.J. (1998). Characterization and distribution of soils at Lambir Hills National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia, with special reference to soil hardness and soil texture. Tropics, 8: 31-44.

Ishizuka, S., Sakurai, K., Kendawang, J.J., & Lee, H.S. (2000). Soil characteristics of an abandoned shifting cultivation land in Sarawak, Malaysia. Tropics, 10: 251-263.

Juo, A.S.R. & Franzluebbers, K. (2003). Tropical soils: properties and management for sustainable agriculture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp 281.

Kadir, S., Ishizuka, I., Sakurai, K., Tanaka, S., Kubota, S., Hirota, M., & Priatna, S.J. (2001). Characterization of ultisols under different wildfire in South Sumatra, Indonesia, I. Physico-chemical properties. Tropics, 10: 565-580.

Kuo, S. (1996). Phosphorus. In: Sparks, D.L., Page, P.N., Tabatabai, M.A., Johnston, C.T., & Summer, M.E. (Eds.). Method of soil analysis. Part 3-chemical methods. Soil Sci. Soc. America, Inc. and American Soc. Agronomy, Inc., Wisconsin. Pp 869- 919.

Lines, R. (2004). Soil Organic Matter: Decomposition. au/agriculture/resources/soils/structure/organic-matter. Downloaded on 28.8.2015.

Meteorological Department. (2010). Weather data (air temperature) 2001-2010. Meteorological Department, Sarawak, Kuching.

Montagnini, F., Eibl, B.M., Grance, L., Maiocco, D., & Nozzi, D. (1997). Enrichment planting in overexploited subtropical forests of the Paranaense region of Misiones, Argentina. Forest Ecology Management, 99: 237-246.

Natural Resources Conservation Services, United States Department of Agriculture, (NRCS). (2002). In: Schoeneberger, P.J., Wysocki, D.A., Benham, E.C., & Broderson, W.D. (Eds). Field book for describing and sampling soils, version 2.0. Lincoln, NE: Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Soil Survey Center.

Ogino, K., Lee, H.S., & Kendawang, J.J. (2000). Proceeding of workshop on forest ecosystem rehabilitation. Sarawak: Forest Department Sarawak.

Ohta, S. (1990). Influence of Deforestation on the Soils of the Pantabangan Area, CentralLuzon, the Philippines. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 36: 561-573.

Ohta, S. & Effendi, S. (1992). Ultisols of lowland dipterocarp forest in east Kalimantan, Indonesia. II. Status of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 38: 207-216.

Ohta, S., Effendi, S., Tanaka, N., & Miura, S. (1993). Ultisols of lowland dipterocarp forest in east Kalimantan, Indonesia: III. Clay minerals, free oxides and exchangeable cations. Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, 39: 1-12.

Ohta, S., Morisada, K., Tanaka, N., Kiyono, Y., & Effendi, S. (2000). Are soils in degraded dipterocarp forest ecosystems deteriorated? A comparison of imperata grasslands, degraded secondary forests, and primary forests. In: Guhardja, E., Fatawi, M., Sutisna, M., Mori, T. and Ohta, S. (Eds.). Rainforest ecosystems of east Kalimantan: el-nino, drought, fire and human impacts. Springer-Verlag, Tokyo. Pp 49-58.

Perumal, M., Wasli, M.E., Sani, H., Said, A., & Nahrawi, H. (2012). Growth performance and survival rate of planted Shorea macrophylla at various age stands in Sampadi Forest Reserve. In: Wasli, M.E., Sani, H., Fasihuddin, B.A., Mohamad, S., Lim, P.T., Lee, K.S. and Sidi, M. (Eds.). Natural resources in the tropics: sustaining tropical natural resources through innovations, technologies and practice. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. Pp 380-387.

Sakurai, K., Tanaka, S., Ishizuka, S., & Kanzaki, M. (1998). Differences in soil properties of dry evergreen and dry deciduous forests in the Sakaerat Environmental Research Station. Tropics, 8: 61-80.

Sanchez, P.A., Palm, C.A., & Buol, S.W. (2003). Fertility capability soil classification: a tool to help assess soil quality in the tropics. Geoderma, 114: 157-185.

Schaetzl, R. & Anderson, S. (2005). Soils: genesis and geomorphology. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.

Shukla, J., Nobre, C., & Sellers, P. (1990). Amazon deforestation and climate change. Science, 247: 1322-1325.

Soil Survey Staff. (2014). Keys to Soil Taxonomy. (12th ed.). US. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources Conservation Services, Washington, D.C.

Soto, B. & Diazfierroz, F. (1993). Interaction between plant ash leachates and soil. International Journal of Wildland Fire, 3: 207-216.

Tan, S.S., Primack, R.B., Chai, E.O.K., & Lee, H.S. (1987). The silviculture of dipterocarp trees in Sarawak, Malaysia Plantation forest. Malaysian Forester, 50: 148-161.

Tanaka, S., Wasli, M., Kotegawa, T., Seman, L., Sabang, J., Kendawang, J.J., Sakurai, K., & Morooka, Y. (2007). Soil properties of secondary forests under shifting cultivation by the Iban of Sarawak, Malaysia in relation to vegetation condition. Tropics, 16: 385-398.

Teng, S.C. (2004). Keys to soil classification ofSarawak. Agriculture Department of Sarawak. Pp 68.

Thornthwaite, C.W. (1948). An approach toward a rational classification of climate. Geographical Review, 38: 55-94.

Vincent, A. & Davies, S.J. (2003). Effects of nutrient addition, mulching and plantinghole on early performance of Dryobalanops aromatica and Shorea parvifolia planted in secondary forest in Sarawak, Malaysia. Journal of Forest Ecology and Management, 180: 261-271.

Wasli, M.E., Tanaka, S., Kendawang, J.J., Seman, L., Unang, B., Lat, J., Abdu, A., Morooka, Y., & Sakurai, K. (2009). Vegetation conditions and soil fertility of fallow lands under intensified shifting cultivation systems in Sarawak, Malaysia. Tropics, 18: 115-126.

Whitmore, T.C. (1998). An introduction to tropical rain forests. (2nd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Pp 282.

Wilson, E.O. (Ed.). (1988). Biodiversity. National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.

Wood, T.W.W. & Beckett, P.H.T. (1961). Some Sarawak soils. II Soils of the Bintulu coastal area. Journal of Soil Science, 12: 218-233.

Zaidey, A.K., Arifin, A., Zahari, I., Hazandy, A.H., Zaki, M.H. Hassan, A., Wasli, M.E., Hafiz, Y.K., Shamshuddin, J., & Muhamad, M.N. (2010). Characterizing soil properties of lowland and hill dipeterocarp forests at Peninsular Malaysia. International Journal of Soil Science, 5(3): 112-130.

How to Cite
Perumal, M., Wasli, M. E., Ying, H. S., Lat, J., & Sani, H. (1). Soil Morphological and Physicochemical Properties at Reforestation Sites After Enrichment Planting of Shorea Macrophylla in Sampadi Forest Reserve, Sarawak, Malaysia. Borneo Journal of Resource Science and Technology, 5(2), 28-43.