Borneo peat swamp forests

Borneo peat swamp forests

The Borneo peat swamp forests is a tropical moist forest ecoregion on the island of Borneo, which is divided between Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. Peat swamp forests occur where waterlogged soils prevent dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing, which over time creates thick layer of acidic peat. Peat swamp forests occur in coastal lowlands, behind the brackish or salt-water mangrove forests that lie near the coast, and bounded by the Borneo lowland rain forests on better-drained soils.

Over the past decade, the government of Indonesia has drained some of the Borneo peat swamp forests for conversion to agricultural land. The dry years of 1997-8 and 2002-3 (see El Niño) 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.

Indonesia is currently the world's third largest carbon emitter (when deforestation and land use changes are included), to a large extent due to the destruction of its ancient peat swamp forests.Fact|date=May 2008

ee also

* Peninsular Malaysian peat swamp forests
* 1997 Southeast Asian haze

External links

* [ Borneo peat swamp forests (World Wildlife Fund)]
* [ Envisat focuses on carbon-rich peat swamp forest fires (European Space Agency)]
* [ Smoking out the world's lungs] BBC report (accessed 12th Feb. 2007)

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