Development of guidelines for EIA on agriculture and infrastructure projects on peatlands in Sarawak

Tsai, Koh Fen (2004) Development of guidelines for EIA on agriculture and infrastructure projects on peatlands in Sarawak. Masters thesis, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, (UNIMAS).

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Abstract

In Sarawak, peatlands comprises about 13% or 1.66 million ha of the State's total land area. Due to the rapid growth of commercial agriculture development and urbanization, these peatlands are encroached and exploited. More peatlands, including deep peat areas, are anticipated to be alienated for economic development in future, especially following the completion of the proposed coastal trunk road. These developments are expected to result in some unfavourable effects on the fundamental ecological functions and environmental services of peatlands. EIA study is a requirement provided for under the Sarawak NREO 1993. Certain development activities on peatlands are prescribed activities requiring submission of EIA report prior to implementation. Due to the unique characteristics of peatlands, specialised guidelines are deemed necessary for the preparation of EIAs on development activities in peat areas. Such guidelines, which are eful to consultants and proponents of projects on peatlands, are yet to be made available) This dissertation work attempts at developing a set of guidelines specific for agricultural, infrastructural and realestate developments on peatlands. The study involves collation and review of EIA, EMP and EMR reports, literature, and other relevant guidelines and publications related to peatlands development. Field visits to selected plantations, road and housing construction sites, and interview and discussion with selected environmental consultants, developers and contractors have also been conducted. The key environmental effects associated with peatlands development identified include peat subsidence and compaction, irreversible drying of peat and fire hazard. Other major effects are alterations of peat hydrology which include reduction of dry season flow, saline intrusion during dry season, and increased stream flow and flooding hazard during wet season. Also pertinent are degradation of water quality, air pollution during land clearing, decrease in the size of water supply catchment, draw down of ground water level, loss of water resources, loss of flora and fauna, loss of habitat and biodiversity, and micro-climate change. Intensive agriculture on peatlands also results in the problem of agrochemical contamination of both the surface and ground water. Technological and information gaps and specialised guidelines are the main constraints for the environmental consultants and project developers to prepare good EIA reports. Therefore, a good set of guidelines is needed to ensure that impact assessment exercises appropriately address aspects pertinent to the peat environment. In the case of agriculture development, such guidelines would facilitate planning and designing of more environmentally friendly technology or methods of land clearance, drainage and irrigation, tilling and planting as each of these activities are elements which could have impact on the environment and the sustainability of the land resource. The guidelines, as developed by this study, is intended at improving the effectiveness of the present EIA procedure through assisting project proponents in better defining the scope, enhancing the quality of an EIA study and its report by ensuring focus on aspects relevant to the unique and fragile peatlands.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Thesis (M.Sc.) -- Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 2004.
Uncontrolled Keywords: peatland, Agriculture, EIA, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, Postgraduate, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
Depositing User: Karen Kornalius
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2016 02:15
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2016 02:15
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/12607

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