Distribution and Status of Peatlands in Brunei
Brunei is well endowed with large areas of pristine peatlands. Peat swamp forests are the most widespread types of swamp forests found in Brunei. The greater proportion of peatlands occur at low altitude, near the coast, from sea level to about 50 metres above mean sea level, although pockets of peatlands are found in highland areas which are referred to as 'kerangas' or tropical heatland.
Based on their topological location, mode of formation, their age and depth, three categories of peatland has been identified in South East Asia. All are commonly found in Brunei.
Coastal Peatland is located in sub-coastal and deltaic areas where they have developed in a seaward expanding delta. Coastal peatland is the most extensive type found in Brunei. The largest most developed coastal peatland is the Belait Peat Swamp
Basin or River Valley Peat occur inlands along river valleysat levels usually 5-15 metres above mean sea level, forming a transition between th basin swamps and the swamps in the interior. Main areas in Brunei are along th middle and lower reaches of River Tutong and Belait. In terms of absolute age they are much older than the coastal peats.
Highland Peatland type of peat develops in elevated sites on wet mountains and plateaux along low altitude rivr terraces or raised beaches. This type of patland is genarally smaller in area. Pockets are found on the Labi and Ladan Hills in the Belait District, the Ladan Hills in the Tutung Districtand in the Temburung Highlands.
STATUS OF PEATLANDS
Interest to ensure sustainability of the resources and the environment by relevant authorities has been translated into several laws and public policies. A more consistent protection policy was adopted in the Fifth National Development Plan (1982-87). Under the 1984 enactment , all national forest land was assigned as forest reserve under four functional categories:
Protection forests are unexploitable intended primarily to keep intact the forest conditions; protecting critical soils and water resources, keeping the country green and beautiful and the climate invigorating; and helping to prevent or minimise the occurance of floods, draughts, erosion, desertification and atmospheric pollution.
Conservation forests are undisturbed forestsfor the purpose of preserving in perpetuity the wildlife, flora, fauna and other elements of the ecosystem for scientific, educational and other special uses.
Production forests are natural and man-made forests for the principal purpose of supplying the country's requirements on timber.
Recreational forests are reserved and developed for outdoor recreation in order to enhance well-being of the country's citizens.