Research Support

Inter-continental comparisons of biodiversity and ecosystem functions in tropical white-sand forests

Project Gist

Biodiversity in tropical white sand forests


Tropical white sand forest, biodiversity, Madagascar

Background and Purpose

In the tropics, in addition to dense tropical rainforests, there are forests called tropical white sand forests, which have a unique landscape of low-height, thin-trunked trees with small hard leaves that are developed on poor nutrient soils. Such forests are scattered throughout Southeast Asia, South America, and Africa, and are considered to be home to many endemic plants and animals. The purpose of this study is to evaluate and understand the biodiversity of such tropical white sand forests.

Project Achievements

In the beginning of this project we could not travel abroad due to the covid-19 pandemic, during that time, we conducted remote sensing analysis, and clarified the importance of soil in the pattern of forest height in tropical forests, including tropical white sand forests. In the later stage, we conducted a preliminary survey and evaluated the valuable remaining tropical white sand forest ecosystems. The members of this project successfully acquired external funds (e.g. JSPS Kiban A and B).

Future Prospects

In this project, we were able to study the ecosystem of the precious tropical white sand forests of Madagascar, so we would like to continue to deepen this research. In addition, we want to expand our research into tropical forests in Asia and South America.


A group photo after the meeting at Univeristy of Antanànarìvo, Madagascar
Colleagues on white-sand ecosystems in Ankarafantsika National park, Madagascar

Principal Investigator

ONODA Yusuke

ONODA Yusuke
Graduate School of Agriculture
After earning a PhD degree at Tohoku University, he was post-doc in the Netherlands and Australia before entering Kyoto University in 2012. His specialty is forest ecology. His main research theme is to clarify the principles that regulate the diversity of plant traits and the various principles that regulate forest production.

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