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Title: SOS : save our swamps for peat's sake
Authors: Hon, Jason
Keywords: Peat swamp forests
oil palm
agricultural policy
Issue Date: 12-Apr-2011
Publisher: Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: SANSAI : An Environmental Journal for the Global Community
Volume: 5
Start page: 51
End page: 65
Abstract: The Malaysian government's scheme for the agricultural intensification of oil palm production is putting increasing pressure on lowland areas dominated by peat swamp forests.This paper focuses on the peat swamp forests of Sarawak, home to 64 per cent of the peat swamp forests in Malaysia and earmarked under the Malaysian government's Third National Agriculture Policy (1998-2010) for the development and intensification of the oil palm industry.Sarawak's tropical peat swamp forests form a unique ecosystem, where rare plant and animal species, such as the alan tree and the red-banded langur, can be found.They also play a vital role in maintaining the carbon balance, storing up to 10 times more carbon per hectare than other tropical forests. Draining these forests for agricultural purposes endangers the unique species of flora and fauna that live in them and increases the likelihood of uncontrollable peat fires, which emit lethal smoke that can pose a huge environmental risk to the health of humans and wildlife.This paper calls for a radical reassessment of current agricultural policies by the Malaysian government and highlights the need for concerted effort to protect the fragile ecosystems of Sarawak's endangered peat swamp forests.
Appears in Collections:No. 5

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