Principles of Eco-Management in a Large-Scale Ecosystem of Tropical Peatland

In dome-shaped tropical peatlands, mainly on the maritime continent of Southeast Asia, rainfall provides the only water supply and no nutrients, which has a very strong impact on plant growth, ecosystem conservation, and peatland management. When considering new peatland management systems in tropical peatlands, called “Eco-management in a Large-scale Ecosystem of Tropical Peatland,” the following three factors cannot be ignored. Water Cycle and Water Reservoir, Carbon Cycle and Carbon Reservoir, and Nutrient Cycle and Nutrient Reservoir. The tropical peatlands store vast amounts of water and carbon, while they are extremely poor in nutrients. Under the conditions of these unique characteristics, peat swamp forests have been maintained. However, exploitation for agriculture and forestry has led to massive drainage of tropical peatlands, resulting in the release of carbon as CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, the poor nutrient status of these peatlands has led to the intensive application of fertilizer to cultivate plants. It is already clear that these activities lead to the destruction of peatlands. The preservation of the close relationship and functions of water, carbon, and nutrients is essential for the maintenance and restoration of tropical peat ecosystems. To maintain or sustainably use tropical peatlands, water management systems need to be fundamentally rethought. A key element of the tropical peatland ecosystem is the water statute. The water management system is clarified as Stock-based Water Management (WM) [irrigation system] and Drainage-based Water Management (WM) [drainage system]. The proposed eco-management of tropical peatland includes (1) the importance of Stock-based WM, (2) how to establish Stock-based WM, and (3) how to improve Drainage-based WM in Stock-based WM. Tropical peatland management should be conducted through Stock-based WM instead of the previous and destructive Drainage-based WM. The introduction of Stock-based WM with no fertilizer would also allow for carbon-negative management. Although there are also concerns about the impacts of the destruction of tropical forests on the global water cycle, the proposed Stock-based WM system and reforestation could play an important role in pumping water into the atmosphere. Therefore, Drainage-based WM should be replaced by Stock-based WM at the earliest possible time to reduce global climate change.
  • Authors: Kato, T., Osaki, M., Tsuji, N., Silsigia, S.
  • Author Affiliation: PT. Wana Subur Lestari/PT. Mayangkara Tanaman Industri, Hokkaido University, University of Malaysia Sabah
  • Subjects: drainage, water management, water cycle, carbon cycle, nutrient cycling, peatlands, tropics, ecosystem management
  • Publication type: Chapter-R
  • Source: Osaki, M., Tsuji, N., Foead, N., Rieley, J., (eds). 2021. Tropical Peatland Eco-management. 63-86
  • Year: 2021
  • ISSN: 978-981-334-654-3
  • DOI:
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