Peat swamp forest

Peat swamp forest

Peat swamp forests are tropical moist forests where waterlogged soils prevent dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing, which over time creates thick layer of acidic peat. Large areas of these forests are being logged at high rates.

Peat swamp forests are typically surrounded by lowland rain forests on better-drained soils, and by brackish or salt-water mangrove forests near the coast.

Over the past decade, the government of Indonesia has drained some peat swamp forests of the island of Borneo for conversion to agricultural land. The dry years of 1997-8 and 2002-3 saw huge fires in the peat swamp forests. A study for the European Space Agency found that the peat swamp forests are a significant carbon sink for the planet, and that the fires of 1997-8 may have released up to 2.5 billion tonnes, and the 2002-3 fires between 200 million to 1 billion tonnes, of carbon into the atmosphere.

Peat swamp forest ecoregions

*Borneo peat swamp forests (Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia)
*Peninsular Malaysian peat swamp forests (Malaysia, Thailand)
*Sumatran peat swamp forests (Indonesia)
*Tonle Sap-Mekong peat swamp forests (Cambodia, Vietnam)

External links

* [ Envisat focuses on carbon-rich peat swamp forest fires (European Space Agency)]

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