World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Kerangas forest

Sundaland heath forest, also known as Kerangas forest, is a type of tropical moist forest found on the island of Borneo, which is divided between Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, as well as on the Indonesian islands of Belitung and Bangka, which lie to the west of Borneo.


  • Setting 1
  • Flora 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


The word Kerangas, which means "land which cannot grow rice", came from the Iban language. Heath forests occur on acidic sandy soils that are the result of the area's siliceous parent rocks. Permanently waterlogged heath forests are known as kerapah forests. The sandy soil of the heath forest are often lacking in nutrients; it is generally considered that nitrogen is the nutrient which is most lacking for plant growth in these forests. This is in contrast to many other lowland rain forests where phosphorus is considered to be lacking.

A more recent hypothesis, proposed by Proctor (1999), is that these forests are growing on soils which are highly acidic, such that hydrogen ion toxicity prevents the growth of non-adapted species.


The Sundaland heath forests are distinct from the surrounding Borneo lowland rain forests in species composition, structure, texture, and color. The heath forests have a low, uniform canopy, with thick underbrush and rich growth of moss and epiphytes.

Many tree and plant species in the nutrient-deprived heath forests have developed unconventional ways to get their nutrients. Some tree species (Gymnostoma nobile, for example) utilise rhizobia (nitrogen fixing bacteria) in their root nodules. Myrmecophytes, including Myrmecodia spp. and Hydnophytum spp., are tree species that develop symbiotic associations with ants to get their nutrients. Other plants, including pitcher plants (Nepenthes spp.), sundews (Drosera ssp.), and bladderwort (Utricularia ssp.), are carnivorous, trapping and digesting insects.

The heath forests are characterized by many plants of Australasian origin, including trees of families Myrtaceae and Casuarinaceae and the southern hemisphere conifers Agathis, Podocarpus, and Dacrydium.


  • Proctor, J. (1999) "Heath forests and acid soils". Botanical Journal of Scotland 51, 1-14.
  • Wikramanayake, Eric; Eric Dinerstein; Colby J. Loucks; et al. (2002). Terrestrial Ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: a Conservation Assessment. Island Press; Washington, DC.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.