A Quick Scan of Peatlands in Malaysia
This report presents the first national assessment of peatlands in Malaysia. It identifies remaining peatlands of high conservation value, the loss of peatlands and the use of these carbon dense area for for instance palm oil production.
Malaysia, comprising the regions of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, and Sarawak, supports some of the most extensive tropical peatlands in the world. Malaysia’s peatlands mainly consist of peat swamp forest, a critically endangered category of forested wetland characterised by deep layers of peat soil and waters so acidic that many of the plants and animals found in them do not occur in the other tropical forests of Asia.
Despite these values, the peatlands of Malaysia are the most highly threatened of all its forests and wetlands. Vast areas of peat swamp forest have been cleared, burnt, and drained for economic development and few of Malaysia’s peatlands remain intact. Remaining peatlands continue to be cleared, particularly for oil palm plantations, to meet domestic and international demand for palm oil and other agricultural products.
Project funded by the Kleine Natuur Initiatief Projecten, Royal Netherlands Embassy
Also relevant for this topic: Impact of oil palm plantations on peatland conversion in Sarawak 2005-2010.