An investigation into the long-term disturbance dynamics and resilience of tropical peat swamp forests, to assist with their conservation in the face of oil palm agrilcultural expansion, Borneo, Southeast Asia.
Peatswamp forests cover much of the coastline of Borneo, Southeast Asia. Rich in biodiversity and carbon, they provide numerous ecosystem services to human populations both locally and globally. With the rapid expansion of plantation agriculture, namely oil palm, they are being logged, drained and planted at alarming rates without consideration of whether this ecosystem can continue to function after this level of human alteration. Is there evidence from the past of similar disturbance? What impact have fire, human settlement, climate change, etc. had on the forest vegetation? Did the ecosystem recover? Palaeoecology studies will be carried out on samples taken from peatswamps in Sarawak, Borneo, along with key informant interviews in peat-user communities, to understand the long term vegetation change and use of these forests. This information will help to inform the management of these peat swamps for their long term conservation.