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  Degradation Due to Drainage and Subsidence

 
 Photo credit: Julia Lo/GEC
   
     
Even without fire, the peatlands of the region degrade rapidly once they are drained with land subsidence of up to 3m as recorded in some parts of the region following unregulated drainage. Subsidence in deep peat leads to flooding, destruction of infrastructure and other impacts. Shallow peatlands are frequently underlain by potential acid-sulphate soil, hence drainage and loss of the peat layer often leads to further acidification of soil and groundwater making agriculture and settlements impossible.

 

Status and Values of Peat Swamp Forests
One of the major land types in Southeast Asia is peatlands. In a natural state these occur as peat swamp forests. These wetland forests have developed primarily in the coastal lowland plains in-between major rivers. Read more >>

     
 

Degradation of Peatlands
Over the past 30 years, peat swamp forests have been increasingly cleared, drained and degraded as a result of unsustainable forestry and agricultural practices. Read more >>

     
 
Environmental and Socio-Economic Impacts
All of these various problems have combined to make the degradation of the peat swamp forests of South East Asia into one of the most extensive and important land degradation problems in the world. Read more >>
     
 
Responses to the Problems
With increasing recognition of the significance of peatland degradation in the ASEAN region, there has been a growing level of activities at national and regional level. Read more >>
     
     
Need for new intervention
To date, efforts in the region to address the increasing problems of peatland fires and associated transboundary haze and greenhouse gas emission have focussed mainly on early warning and firefighting approaches. Read more >>