Vegetation assessment of Peat Swamp Forest using remote sensing.
Gandaseca, Seca, Sabang, John, Ahmed, Osumanu Haruna and Nik Ab. Majid, Nik Muhamad (2009) Vegetation assessment of Peat Swamp Forest using remote sensing. American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences, 4 (2). pp. 167-172. ISSN 1557-4989
Peat covers 1.6 million ha (13%) of the 12.4 million ha land area of Sarawak and some of peat swamp forests have been logged. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of logging operation on peat swamp forest in this area. Approach: The study used a remote sensing technique to assess vegetation cover in a peat swamp forest areas in Sarawak as result of logging practice and land clearing activities for oil palm plantation. Vegetation Index was used to assess impact of timber harvesting system and land clearing activities on remaining peat swamp forest in two sites which were logged previously and the possible relationship of change in hydrology. Results: The timber harvesting system was a combination of rail system for log transportation and excavator crawler for log skidding. Drainage work was probably carried out prior to logging activities which was followed up by land preparation for the establishment of the oil palm plantations. There was a general decrease in the level of greenness from 2002-2007. Between the two sites, the level of greenness was relatively lower in the West Site. The high green level of both sites was reduced remarkably in 2007 especially for the West Site and this corresponded to increase in the percentage of medium green level. The changed in the level of greenness in the remnant peat swamp forest could suggest that soil and other conditions such as vegetation structure and floristic composition are unfavorable for the expected rate of forest regeneration. Conclusion: The remnant logged peat swamp forest of the area declined due to a poor state of growth as shown by the dramatically decrease in the level of greenness. The peat swamp forest types strongly related to the hydrological conditions and the associated flow of nutrients and mineral elements. The surrounding hydrology was presumed to have influence the physical and chemical characteristics of the peat.
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