Why are dipterocarps important?
These colossal trees are the keystone species of their forest domain. They feed, shelter and support myriad other life forms, and lock up prodigious quantities of carbon in their roots, trunks and foliage. Natural allies in the fight against climate change, they make a massive contribution to carbon sequestration.
Individually and collectively, dipterocarp trees play a crucial ecological role: their roots hold together the soil; their trunks are natural highways; their leaves provide food and nutrients for other plant growth on the forest floor; their seeds feed terrestrial herbivores; and their canopy provides nest sites and temporary refuges, permanent homes for arboreal animals, a platform for epiphytic plants and fruit-bearing strangler figs, and acts as a giant umbrella, shielding the forest floor from the torrential tropical rain that would wash away soil and essential nutrients.