This project was a landmark initiative for the conservation and sustainable use of PSF in Malaysia. The 5-year project was executed by the Ministry of Primary Industries Malaysia with FRIM appointed as the implementing agency. The primary objective of this project was to develop and implement plans and to encourage processes that will ensure the conservation and sustainable use of globally significant genetic, species and ecosystem diversity within tropical PSFs in Malaysia. Three demonstration sites were selected: Loagan Bunut National Park in Sarawak, Klias Peninsula in Sabah and SEPPSF in Pahang.
In the project implementation phase, a MDA was carried out at the respective selected sites over a 6-month period and it achieved the following 3 major objectives:
1. To develop an updated picture of the current status for the site through a multi-disciplinary rapid biodiversity, socio-economic and landscape level assessments - identify and describe gaps in the information and knowledge required to manage the project site in an effective and sustainable manner. To provide a representative data on biological diversity values of the area and other information required as a basis to develop a site specific management plan; to identify and propose interim forest zonation based on the above.
2. To identify critical threats and problems operating on the site - by knowing the underlying causes, we can then go forward by developing an interim management outline for the site, supported by Action Plans to address these priority needs.
3. Using the lessons learnt from field assessments, to design a practical and cost-effective site monitoring system for the site.
Wetlands International was contracted to undertake the MDA for the SEPPSF component.
Enhancing the conservation status of key peatland areas in Malaysia
Peat swamp forest (PSF) is Malaysia's largest wetland type in terms of area covered. Important PSF areas for Malaysia occur in the state of Pahang (Southeast Peat Swamp Forest Complexes); Selangor (North and South Selangor PSF complexes); Sabah (Klias Peninsular PSF Complex); and Sarawak (the Lower Sg. Baram PSF complex which includes Loagan Bunut).
Peatland issues include economic, socio-cultural and environmental concerns implied in the implementation of the Ramsar Convention, the Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity, which all have been ratified by the Malaysian Government.
However, the linkage of biodiversity, climate change and carbon sinks, and the wise use has never been identified as important elements in the peatlands management in Malaysia. Greater understanding and appreciation of the functions, benefits and values of peatlands in Malaysia is of paramount importance in order for the people to appreciate this highly endangered and fragile wetland ecosystem.
Therefore, the project had integrated peatland information into communication and public awareness materials that captured the interest and co-operation of peatland owners, managers and public at large. This was a first step towards attaining the larger goal towards the wise use of peatlands in Malaysia.
It was a short-term project with the emphasis on achieving the following objectives within the project cycle:
- Identify key peatland areas (including stateland forests) and sectoral needs to improve inter-agency coordination in managing peatlands in Malaysia.
- Raising awareness on the functions and benefits of peatlands in Malaysia.