Eycott, A.E.; Turner, E.C.; Luke, S.H.; Advento, A.D.

Palm frond damage from herbivory in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) plots, Kandista and Ujun Tanjung estates, Indonesia

Data comprise counts of damage to palm fronds in mature oil palm (2013-2015), and mature and replanted oil palm (2016-2017) plots as part of a large-scale ecological experiment programme (the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture project, established in 2013). Herbivory was measured 17 times in total (every 3-4 months) between April 2013 and August 2017. Eighteen plots were examined across three estates – plots in Ujung Tanjung and Kandista estates were planted in 1987 to 1992 and are mature or over-mature oil palm, while Libo plots (2016-2017 data only) were replanted in 2014. Plots were organised in triplets; in Ujung Tanjung and Kandista, for each triplet one plot was assigned to each of three vegetation treatments: Reduced vegetation cover, normal vegetation management and enhanced vegetation cover.
The data contain damage estimated in three ways: by eye for the whole crown, by eye for the 17th frond, and by image processing for 20 leaflets of the 17th frond.

Publication date: 2020-02-25

Get the data

Format of the data: Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Eycott, A.E.; Turner, E.C.; Luke, S.H.; Advento, A.D. (2020). Palm frond damage from herbivory in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) plots, Kandista and Ujun Tanjung estates, Indonesia. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre. https://doi.org/10.5285/c2fbd22c-1ce9-4435-b4b0-e333addef346


© Natural Environment Research Council

© University of Cambridge Department of Zoology


Study area
Temporal extent
2013-04-01    to    2017-08-31

Provenance & quality

At each recording session, three palms were selected at random from within experimental plots. Random palm selection was done using the rnd function in excel before visiting the field, as each palm in the experimental plots has a unique identifying tag. In the replanted stands where palms are not tagged, the randomisation was done by counting steps from the corner of the plot, again using the rnd function in excel.
First the damage to the crown form herbivory was estimated visually from the ground. Then, counting from the youngest fully-opened frond, the 17th frond in the crown of the palm was cut and caught in a white cloth. Frond 17 represents a middle-aged frond (aged between 8.5 and 9 months) in mature palms and is commonly used by the oil palm industry as a standard to measure herbivory and herbivore load. The damage to the frond (in percent) was estimated visually. Then twenty paired leaflets, spaced evenly along the frond, were cut, placed flat on a white board and photographed (using a Nikon D90). Photography and visual damage estimates were always carried out by the same person, from the same angle (bottom left), to reduce sampling bias.
Photographs were pre-processed to remove noise and converted to binary images in Microsoft Paint. The total leaflet area was then measured in Fiji (https://fiji.sc/). A second image was prepared in Microsoft Paint, with all herbivory damage ‘filled in’, such that the leaflets appeared to be intact. Where leaflet tips were missing, a conservative estimate for the leaflet tip was drawn in, based on the length of neighbouring leaflets. This second image was measured in Fiji in the same way and the percent of the leaflet area consumed by herbivores was calculated.
Basic data checks were carried out (checks for impossible values, such as an increase in leaf area after processing or extreme discrepancy between visual estimate and image processing values).

Supplemental information

This dataset is a supplement to:

Environmental Research Communications
Managing Oil Palm Plantations More Sustainably: Large-Scale Experiments Within the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function in Tropical Agriculture (BEFTA) Programme

Correspondence/contact details

Eycott, A.
Nord University


Eycott, A.E.
Nord University
Turner, E.C.
University of Cambridge
Luke, S.H.
University of Cambridge
Advento, A.D.
SMART Research Institute

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre
Rights Holder
University of Cambridge Department of Zoology

Additional metadata

Topic categories
Biota , Environment , Economy , Farming
Environmental risk
Environmental Monitoring Facilities
Natural Environment Research Council Award: NE/P00458X/1
Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
WGS 84
Last updated
13 March 2020 14:31