Royal Society Publishing

Interdependence of peat and vegetation in a tropical peat swamp forest

S. E. Page, J. O. Rieley, Ø. W. Shotyk, D. Weiss

Abstract

The visual uniformity of tropical peat swamp forest masks the considerable variation in forest structure that has evolved in response to differences and changes in peat characteristics over many millennia. Details are presented of forest structure and tree composition of the principal peat swamp forest types in the upper catchment of Sungai Sebangau, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, in relation to thickness and hydrology of the peat. Consideration is given to data on peat geochemistry and age of peat that provide evidence of the ombrotrophic nature of this vast peatland and its mode of formation. The future sustainability of this ecosystem is predicted from information available on climate change and human impact in this region.

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