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The effect of fire on the microbial activity and nutrient availability in Dipterocarp rainforest and Acacia plantations (Sabah, Malaysia).
Background for this study: After the extensive wildfires in tropical rain forests in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in 1983 and 1988, the quantity and quality of the remaining organic material has been a growing concern. This is because so much of the fertility of the soils in these areas is coupled to the organic material. During the 1998 Borneo wild fire, also the research areas were the department of Forest Ecology have been involved in experiments was affected. Even though this was in many ways unfortunate, it also gave some new possibilities to study the effect of fire on these ecosystems. We already have samples from before and after fire in two plantations (normal forest plantation with prescribed burning before planting and plantation without prescribed burning) and in dipterocarp rainforest. The proposed study would analyze and compare the chemistry and microbial activity of these samples. If it is possible for the interested student to travel to Malaysia there could be a case for complementing the study with a new set samples.
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