The Jengka Forest Research Station was established in 1982 and maintained to date as FRIM’s sub station for research and development of sustainable management of the Dipterocarp Hill forest research. The station is located between cocoa and oil palm plantations and selectively logged, undulating lowland to hill dipterocarp forests. The station has been widely use by local as well as foreign research scientists for assess and lodging whilst doing research. It has been the base for several successful research projects in the areas, and activities encompass logging impacts, residual stand and regeneration development, silvicultural treatments, enrichment planting, hydrology, soil sciences, zoology and forest ecology.
Set up in a forest environment, the station had 3 wooden building with 12 bedrooms and has capacity to house 42 people at any one time. Basic amenities include attached bathroom in each bedroom, 24 hours electric supply, a common kitchen facility, surau, station office and store room. An indoor and outdoor activity such as ping-pong, carom, badminton, sepak takraw and jungle trekking is provided for.
The hydrological research project evaluated the impacts of supervised and unsupervised mechanized harvesting on water quantity and quality in three watersheds in hill dipterocarp forest. Hydrological parameters were monitored for several years before and after harvesting. The results have been incorporated into the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) guidelines for managed inland forest. Site fertility and its influence on the stocking of dipterocarp species have also been assessed within the catchment areas.
The silvicultural and management studies focused on two aspects:
the impacts of harvesting systems (tractor logging and high-lead yarding) and cutting limits on growth response of residual stand, and
enrichment planting of poorly stocked forest.
Eighten 1 ha permanent growth & yield plots were established in 1979 in the adjacent production forest and had been monitored since then. All trees 10 cm dbh and above have been tagged, identified and mapped within these plots and their growth and mortality are being monitored regularly. The results on growth, mortality and ingrowth of residual stand have been used to validate the assumptions on tree growth performance under the current management system for hill dipterocarp forest. The high-lead yarding was introduced into the area due to the steep terrain and rugged topography. However, the method severely damaged the potential crop trees and caused high ground disturbance and is thus, no logger practiced. Cutting limits prescribed under the study (to cut all trees at 45, 52 and 60 cm dbh) had no significant impact on growth response of the residual stand.
The enrichment planting trials tested suitable species under line-planting or group-planting design. It was found that site conditions and frequency of treatments influenced species growth performance. Among the species, Shorea macrophylla showed very promising results.
Latest, a study to determine positive or negative impact on forest ecosystem and productivity along with climate change is being conducted in the production forest area adjacent to the station. The Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) system is established to look at the responses of tropical forest communities such as dipterocarp tree species, ants etc. to high CO2 concentrations in the environment. The FACE System involves an infrastructure hexagonal in shape. It releases additional CO2 into the air, elevating atmospheric CO2 from 410-450 ppm (ambience) to 600 ppm and above (elevated). This study, which started in year 2016 will be carried out until year 2020 with the support from Government of Malaysia under the 11th Malaysian Plan. The main objective of the study is to determine changes to forest ecosystem and productivity in the production forest with elevated CO2 level through the FACE system. The impacts on forest ecosystem (including microbes, physiology, soil, phenology, fauna and seeds) and productivity (growth) will be assess. The findings from this long term study will signify the impacts on forest ecosystem and forest productivity of commercial timber and non-timber products over time. A positive impact on forest activities with the predicted climate change will increase timber growth and bigger timber volume will be available for harvest. A negative impact will prove otherwise. Adaptation strategies will then be planned based on the species needed to be planted for a sustainable forest management which has high or low tolerance and higher or lower growth rate when the environment changes.