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  Distribution and Status of Peatlands in Malaysia

 
Photo credit: Julia Lo/GEC
 

Peatlands are mostly found in the states of Selangor, Johor, Perak, Pahang, Sabah and Sarawak. The largest area of peat is found in Sarawak, which is more than 1 million ha (refer to Figure 1). Approximately 50% of the total peatland area in Malaysia is designated as permanent reserves. The remaining areas have been converted for other uses whilst some are still designated as state forests land (refer to Table 1).

In addition to acting as repositories for unique and important biodiversity, peatlands in Southeast Asia is of global importance because of its ability to store an estimated 120 billion tonnes of carbon or approximately 5% of the world’s terrestrial carbon. The peatlands found in Malaysia significantly contribute to the global carbon store in this region, after Indonesia. Peatlands also play a critical role in the socio-economic well-being of the country, particularly for their ecological and hydrological value, their timber and non-timber forest products, water supply, flood control and many other social, environmental and economic benefits.

 

Figure 1: Distribution of peat forest in Malaysia
 
 Table 1. State forest land distribution in Malaysia
 

 

Total peatland area (ha)

Peatland Forest (ha)

Converted to other uses (ha)

Permanent Reserves (ha)

Other Forests (ha)

Peninsular Malaysia

717,000

190,757

109,243

417,000

Sarawak

1,289,114

771,000

349,000

169,114

Sabah

124,457

124,457

0

0

Total

2,130,571

1,086,214

458,243

586,114

 
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