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Tropical Peatlands

ISBN: 9781849713221 | 1849713227
Edition: 1st
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Pub. Date: 10/31/2013

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Tropical peatlands are found mostly in South East Asia, but also in Africa and in Central and South America. They and peat-swamp forests store large amounts of carbon and their destruction, particularly through the development of plantations for oil palm and other forms of agriculture, releases large quantities of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. They are also complex and vulnerable ecosystems, home to great biodiversity and a number of endangered species such as the orang utan.The aim of this book is to introduce this little known but important and vulnerable ecosystem in a way that explains its long standing interaction with the global carbon cycle and how it is being destroyed by deforestation and inappropriate development. The authors describe the origin and formation of peat in the tropics, its current location, extent and amount of carbon stored in it, its biodiversity and natural resource functions and key ecological functions and processes. Appropriate hydrology is the key to the development and maintenance of peatlands and the unique aspects of tropical peatland water supply and management are also explored. In the same vein the nutrient dynamics and budgets of this ecosystem are explained in order to show how complex habitats can be maintained mainly by rainwater containing very low concentrations of essential chemical elements. Past and present impacts on tropical peatlands in SE Asia are discussed and the need for restoration and wise use highlighted. Finally, projections are made about the future of this ecosystem as a result of continuing human impacts and climate change.


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