Shifting paradgims in southeast Asia peat management

Marcel Silvius

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


acacia, peat-management, peat-swamps, planting



Peat swamps in SE Asia originally covered 27.1 million ha with high biodiversity forests, and until the 1980s they were hardly affected by development. SE Asian peat swamp ecosystems have a very high biodiversity with a high rate of endemism and many threatened species. Currently, outside of Papua and Brunei, there are almost no pristine peat swamp forests left in Indonesia and Malaysia. The remainder has been largely subject to selective logging as well as illegal logging activities, and less than 5% is protected for nature conservation. But even the protected areas have been largely affected by logging and many are drained by logging channels. A recent study by Miettinen et al., 2016 revealed that in 2015, only 29% (4.6 Mha) from the original 15.7 million ha of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra remain covered by peat swamp forest (vs. 41% or 6.4 Mha in 2007 and 76% or 11.9 Mha in 1990). Managed land cover types (industrial plantations and smallholder dominated areas)cover 50% (7.8 Mha) of all peatlands (vs. 33% 5.2 Mha in 2007 and 11% 1.7 Mha in 1990). Industrial plantations…