Assessing the Influence of Bird's Nest Ferns (Asplenium spp.) on the Local Microclimate across a Range of Habitat Disturbances in Sabah, Malaysia


bird's nest fern
habitat change
oil palm

How to Cite

Turner, E., & Foster, W. A. (2006). Assessing the Influence of Bird’s Nest Ferns (Asplenium spp.) on the Local Microclimate across a Range of Habitat Disturbances in Sabah, Malaysia. Selbyana, 27(2), 195–200. Retrieved from


Epiphytes can influence their local microclimate by altering the evaporative water loss and temperature around them and therefore may affect the distribution and species composition of micro-fauna associated with them. In this study, the authors investigate for the first time the influence of epiphytes on microclimate across a range of habitat disturbances. Temperature and relative humidity were recorded during a 24-hour period at locations in the immediate vicinity of the epiphytic bird's nest fern (Asplenium spp.) and at control locations (with no ferns present) in areas of primary forest, logged forest, and oil palm plantation in Sabah, Malaysia. Bird's nest ferns reduced the temperature variation during a 24-hour period compared to control locations in all three habitats and also reduced the mean temperature in oil palm plantations. Control locations in oil palm plantations had a higher temperature variation during a 24-hour period compared to control locations in the primary and logged forests. This, however, was not the case at fern locations, where temperature variation was not significantly different in the three habitats. The role of bird's nest ferns in moderating the microclimate in their local area is discussed with reference to possible effects on the micro-fauna, the influence of accelerating habitat conversion, and predicted climate change in Southeast Asia.


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