Resource Details

Restoration Ecology of Lowland Tropical Peatlands in Southeast Asia: Current Knowledge and Future Research Directions

Literature: Journal Articles

Page, Susan, et al. "Restoration ecology of lowland tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia: current knowledge and future research directions." Ecosystems 12.6 (2009): 888-905.

Contact Info

Susan Page

Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK


1. Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK

2. Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, P. O. Box 47, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands

3. Department of Forest Ecology, University of Helsinki, 00014, Helsinki, Finland

4. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands

5. School of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK

6. CIMTROP, University of Palangkaraya, Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia


Species Info

Combretocarpus rotundatus

Cratoxylon glaucum

Ferns: Stenochlaena spp., Lygodium spp., Polypodium spp., Pteris spp.

Sedges: Cyperus spp., Scleria spp.


This paper addresses the restoration of tropical low-lying peatlands using information from on-going research in a 4500 square kilometer study site in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The main findings are as follows:

  • Species diversity of trees falls with repeated burnings in the dry season, which are increasingly being decoupled from the ENSO phenomenon.
  • Repeatedly burned peatlands fall into a state of arrested or retrogressive succession dominated by ferns and sedges, making natural regeneration difficult due to competition with these non-woody plants. Thus, shading out these ferns and sedges through establishment of woody shrubs is important.
  • Hydrological restoration through building closely-spaced dams  using locally-available wood and low-density peat in drainage channels that were cut into the degraded peatlands can restore hydological function by (1)  reducing water level fluctuation during the dry season, thus reducing fire risk and (2) assisting regeneration of vegetation by reducing flooding during the wet season
  • Community involvement in damming of drainage channels is important to ensure that the dams are not taken down and can be coupled with community education about long-term ecological and health benefits, reduced use of fire in agriculture and addition of fish farming in the dammed areas for socio-economic development.

Geographical Region

  • Insular Southeast Asia
  • Ecosystems

  • Peat Swamp
  • Country

  • Indonesia
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