Value of peatlands in Brunei
Brunei Darussalam's favorable economic and demographic circumstances have enabled this country to avoid puting pressure on its resources. Large proportion of peatland particularly the deep peat of the Belait Basin is still intact and in its natural condition. These peatlands have escaped overly intnsive human impact due to their inaccessibility, remoteness and unsuitability of cultivation. Howvever, all shallow peatlands (shallow are those which have lass than 1 metre of peat) have been transformed, particularly those in the Brunei Muara District.
Though the forests consist of magnificient stands of valuable hardwood Shorea albida, hollow logs that do not float and the swampy terrain have hampered their extraction. However, this may not be for long. Logging concessions have been given for timber extraction, particularly the highland peatland of Labi Hill. Logging is also taking place in the Balait Peat Swamp.
In view of the demand to satisfy socio-economic expectation of the current and increasing human population, the National Development Plan has granted the opening up of new areas, including peatlands, for development, particularlay to fulfill the national long term goal of providing the people with housing. In the last decade a number of areas to north of the Belait Peatland have been converted for housing schemes and other commercial and industrial purposes.