The biodiversity of a peat swamp forest in Sarawak

Das, Indraneil and Fatimah, Abang (2006) The biodiversity of a peat swamp forest in Sarawak. Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Kota Samarahan. ISBN 983-9257-45-5

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Abstract

Peat swamps hold a special fascination for me. When I first embarked on studying the aquatic animals of peat swamp forests of the region over a decade ago, the general consensus was that these “extreme” habitats were species-poor and not very interesting for scholars of biodiversity. A forest of dense low vegetation, constantly waterlogged, with a substrate which is very unstable and oftentimes, impossible to walk, and worse of all, overflowing with disgusting water that looks black under reflected light, surely cannot house anything of value. Imagine having to live in such a world … where the ground is nothing more than loose decaying vegetation, the water is tea-coloured and the pH can reach as low as 4 (highly acidic due to the sulphuric acid)! But you can never tell a book by its cover. Within the dreary forest and in the putrid-looking waters, in fact, lives an amazing community of plants and animals with fantastic adaptations. In our studies in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak in the early 1990s, so many new and rare species of fish, crustaceans and other animals were discovered that we were literally “overwhelmed”. How could it be that peat swamps still had such a substantial “undiscovered” biodiversity? The reason is simple – most previous workers simply had not “really gone into the swamps”, merely believing what books had previously stated that the swamps were species-poor and giving them a miss. Over the last decade or so, an increasing number of workers; “crazy scientists” who were prepared to brave this harsh habitat and enter its realm to sample and study its denizens, have shown that peat swamps are an amazing ecosystem, teeming with species.

Item Type: Book
Uncontrolled Keywords: Swamp ecology, Wetland ecology, Wetland forest, unimas, university, universiti, Borneo, Malaysia, Sarawak, Kuching, Samarahan, ipta, education, research, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
S Agriculture > SD Forestry
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Resource Science and Technology
Depositing User: Gani
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2019 02:13
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2019 02:13
URI: http://ir.unimas.my/id/eprint/26999

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