Research agendas for the sustainable management of tropical peatland in Malaysia

Padfield, Rory and Waldron, Susan and Drew, Simon and Papargyropoulou, Effie and Kumaran, Shashi and Page, Sue and Gilvear, Dave and Armstrong, Alona and Evers, Stephanie and Williams, Paul and Zakaria, Zuriati and Chin, Sing Yun and Hansen, Sune Balle and Campos-Arceiz, Ahimsa and Latif, Mohd Talib and Sayok, Alex and Tham, Mun Hou (2015) Research agendas for the sustainable management of tropical peatland in Malaysia. Environmental Conservation, 42 (1). pp. 73-83. ISSN 0376-8929

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There is a need for coordinated research for the sustainable management of tropical peatland. Malaysia has 6% of global tropical peat by area and peatlands there are subject to land use change at an unprecedented rate. This paper describes a stakeholder engagement exercise that identified 95 priority research questions for peatland in Malaysia, organized into nine themes. Analysis revealed the need for fundamental scientific research, with strong representation across the themes of environmental change, ecosystem services, and conversion, disturbance and degradation. Considerable uncertainty remains about Malaysia's baseline conditions for peatland, including questions over total remaining area of peatland, water table depths, soil characteristics, hydrological function, biogeochemical processes and ecology. More applied and multidisciplinary studies involving researchers from the social sciences are required. The future sustainability of Malaysian peatland relies on coordinating research agendas via a ‘knowledge hub’ of researchers, strengthening the role of peatlands in land-use planning and development processes, stricter policy enforcement, and bridging the divide between national and provincial governance. Integration of the economic value of peatlands into existing planning regimes is also a stakeholder priority. Finally, current research needs to be better communicated for the benefit of the research community, for improved societal understanding and to inform policy processes.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Environmental Conservation
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Environmental Conservation, 42 (1), pp 73-83 2015, © 2015 Cambridge University Press.
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Deposited On:
03 Mar 2014 12:06
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 00:44