Webpages with more general information
Webpages with more detailed information.
Decisions to reclaim swampland for agricultural development should be made with great care. The vast majority of the swamps are not suitable for any agricultural use for food crops. Large parts of the not suitable areas could be better recommended for Forestry. Also oil plam palm is a possibility. But most of the the oil palm plantations on peat soil are however not sustainable and will loose their drainage potential, caused by subsidence, within 15-20 years. Decisions for Conservation of the swamplands should aim at diversity of its environment. National Parks may be a possibility to preserve them.
Primary Swamp Forest in Papua:
Large parts of the Primary Swamp Forests are also unsuitable or only marginally suitable for food crop agriculture. They include for the greater part deep peat soils of extreme low fertility. Conservation of Primary Forests will be a much better choice; also economically. For severely degraded Swamp Forests the sustained Forestry option should be considered. Presently large parts are planted now with oil palm and pulpwood plantations. See also the note on abandoned areas for the Forestry options.
Oil Palm and pulp wood plantations are not sustainable on most deep peat areas. These peat soils do not have a sustainable drainability after subsidence. Not sustainable drainability means that after a number of years you will end with peat soils that remain covered after the dead of the plantations with completely degraded low bush and fern vegetation, most of the time under water with a poor vegetation. When not drained these peat soils show a measured growth for the last 5000 years of 1.8 mm/year in Indonesia. To advise Indonesia not to plant oil palm on peat will be difficult. India and China are major importers of Indonesian palm oil. These countries will only need more palm oil in the future and alternatives for palm oil are difficult to find. But anyhow alternatives have to be found in the next 15-20 years as many oil palm plantations on peat soils will be not drainable anymore. Pump drainage is not likely as the costs will be extreme.( More than 3-5 times more pumping per ha will be needed than in the Netherlands for instance)
Melaleuca Bush Swamp Forest in South Kalimantan:
Presently Melaleuca Bush Swamp Forest is a threatened swamp environment. Often it has the potential to be converted into good riceland.
Marshes along a river in Papua:
Swamp areas proposed to be converted to Agricultural Uses require an Environmental Impact Analysis. See also the WebPages Potentials for recommendations concerning the development of swampland in Indonesia.
For a description of some environmental problems after reclamation see: Problems (with pictures).
See also Index