Floral diversity of the peat swamp forests of Sarawak

C.S. Tawan, I.B. Ipor and W.H. Wan Sulaiman

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Tropical Peatlands

floral-diversity, peat-swamp-forest, sarawak

Tawan et al. 2008: Floral diversity of the peat swamp forests of Sarawak


The total peatland area of Sarawak is estimated to be about 1,657,600 hectares, representing 13% of the whole land area. Many of the peat swamp forests (PSF) have been harvested or transformed into agricultural lands and settlements along the coastal areas of Sarawak’s lowland plains. Owing to the rapid transformation of the PSF, there has been increased attention on conserving some of what is left for biodiversity, water resources, recreation, ecotourism and other purposes, including that of being a carbon sink. The existing protected peat swamp areas are Loagan Bunut National Park, which encompasses 10,736 ha, Maludam National Park of 43,147 ha, Pulau Bruit Wildlife Sanctuary (1,776 ha) and several isolated islands of PSF located in Bako National Park, Samunsam Wildlife Sanctuary, and Mulu National Park. This paper presents a review of a study of the flora of the PSF in the Loagan Bunut National Park and the disturbed PSF of Kota Samarahan and Sedilo. In our inventory studies, the traditionally important trees of the peat swamp were also identified, namely Gonystylus bancanus Miq. Kurz. (Ramin), Shorea albida Sym. (Alan bunga), Dactylocladus stenostachys Oliv. (Jongkong), Shorea inequilateralis Sym. (Semayur), Platea excelsa Bl. (Jejangkong), Dyera polyphylla (Miq.) Steenis (Jelutong), Dryobalanops rappa Becc. (Kapur paya), Cratoxylum glaucum Korth. (Geronggang padang) and Combretocar- pus rotundatus (Miq.) Dans. (Keruntum). Nevertheless, these species were no longer dominant in the disturbed habitat. This paper also discusses the importance of flora in the PSF ecosystem that plays an important role in enhancing the carbon sink and storage.