.table-s th{border: 1px solid #cccccc; } .table-s td{border: 1.5px solid #cccccc; background-color:#00868b; color: white;}, Source * EPA (2014) Based on the soil survey and mapping of a total of 700,000 hectares of lowland peat in Southeast Asia, the majority of them can be classified as Saprists (Paramanathan, personal communication). This is alleviated by periodic flushing of the drain water, especially during rainstorms, and liming. (2007). forms : { When peatland is drained for oil palm cultivation, break down of the peat materials releases CO2 into the atmosphere. However, excessive B application must be avoided as it can be phytotoxic and adversely affect the uptake of Cu (Gurmit et al., 1987). Thus, it is often doubted that this can be done since the factors of peat formation in temperate areas are different from that in tropical areas and the peat will be  different morpho-genetically (Paramanathan,2008; Yew et al., 2010). 7th Floor, Menara Axis, It was identified as a one of a major group of soil found in Malaysia. CO2 is emitted when carbon rich peat soils are disturbed for cultivation. As such, estimations of CO2 emissions are often extrapolated based on data  from temperate peat. A larger degree of breakdown quickly takes place in a soil with fibric materials when drained, resulting in higher CO2 emission. Oil palms are cultivated on peat on a large scale since the mid fifties. Peat is also deficient in Cu, Zn and B. Friends of the Earth.(2008). Land subsidence is a serious problem in Sibu Town with frequent refilling and repairing being carried out to reinstate structures, platforms and Moreover, blanket spraying may increase the risk of fire and affect the predator-pest balance. Review of emission factors for assessment of CO2 emission from land use change to oil palm in Southeast Asia.  Technical Panel of the 2nd Greenhouse Gas Working Group of RSPO. Malaysian peat is a tropical peat (Andriesse, 1988). Peat swamp forests are tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing. RSPO manual on best management practices for existing oil palm cultivation on peat,pp214. Soil Sci., March 1984 Google Scholar CONTACT US Large areas of these forests are being logged at high rates. Table 2: Type of peat and expected CO2 emission when drained, .tableizer-table td{color:#000000; border: 1px solid #ccc;}. However, major problems were encountered especially on deep peat and it was not until the eighties that oil palms are successful grown on it. The amount of drainage is another critical factor that determines CO2 emission; a higher emission is linked to deeper or more intense drainage. Most oil palm roots are concentrated in the top 50 cm of the peat soil. Hard wood, for example,  is very recalcitrant and can take a long time to break down and emit CO2 during the process. Trial pits were excavated to a depth of 1 m below the ground surface to measure ground water table and to obtain both undisturbed and disturbed soil samples below the ground water table. This research was conducted from November, 2007 to February, 2008. This research investigated the compressibility of natural peat soil and peat soil improved with polyurethane foam. When these peat soils are drained, the wood fragments do not decompose easily to add on to CO2 emission. EPA carried out a peer review of the emission factor for tropical peatlands drained for oil palm cultivation and the findings were reported in December 2014. Thus, peat soils are also known as organic soils. Telong, Naman and Bayas) mainly due to the spodic horizon which has an impact on drainage and root proliferation within the 50 cm depth. Periodic flushing of the acidic and excessive storm water during the rainy season is also carried out. International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference. }); Proc. This is achieved through a series of stops, weirs and watergates.  Since peat soils are organic in nature, the bulk density is also low. Much of the peat areas were marked as  swamp areas for this reason. For example, Agus et al., (2013) found that the emission from peat oxidation under oil palm cultivation was 43 t CO2 ha-1year-1. Consolidation increases the bulk density from 0.11 to 0.20 g cm-3, reduces the incidences of leaning and fallen palms by half and improves FFB yield by 25%. Later, these soils were planted with rubber but the venture was not successful due to badly leaning trees which made the tapping of the trees to extract latex very difficult. Coupled with the fact that peat soils are not excessively drained when planted with oil palm, the cultivation of such soils have lower CO2 emissions than what is reported currently. This problem can be solved by reducing the compressibility of the peat soil. This is done by constructing a perimeter drain, the dimensions of which depend on the size of area to be cleared and distance from a river outlet, using an excavator. (2013). This is a major problem for infrastructure development as the geotechnical properties of peat soils are lower than mineral soils. Similarly, Melling et al.,(2007) found an emission of 41 t CO2 ha-1year-1 for young mature oil palm area, with root respiration included. Paramananthan,S.(2010). Jour. (2012). This reduces the CO2 emission even further when the peat soils are drained. Most of the publications on CO2 emission on drained tropical lowland peat soils have been extrapolated from experiences based on temperate peat. Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land mass; they are found in the temperate (Northern Europe and America) and tropical regions (South East Asia, South America, South Africa and the … Table 1. There are 2.4 million hectares of peat in Malaysia, with 1.5 million hectares occurring in Sarawak alone. EPA-420-F-14-061. The results in Table 1 show the opinions of the five  experts after their critical evaluations of the problems stated. Omar R C, Jaafar R and Hassan H 1998 Engineering Geology and Earthwork Problem Associated with Highway Construction in Soft Soil at Sg. The completed operation leaves a 9.5 to 3 times over them. Compared with rocks, soils are softer in terms of strength and more compressible, thus giving more problems to engineering works as compared with rocks. A high groundwater table management was designed to slow down peat decomposition, reduce CO 2 emission, minimize peat drying and protect the oil palm fronds against desiccation. To know the proper methods of ground improvement and to know the scale of improvement works, a proper soil investigation requires. As such  sapric, hemic and fibric peat may also have the following wood fragments in the soil solum:-, Photo 1: Deep peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia without wood.Â, Photo 2: Peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia with  decomposing wood .Â, Photo 3: Peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia with  undecomposed wood.Â. Basically, the drainage system consists of a network of field, collection and main drains (Figure 1), the dimensions of which are: The intensity of drains depends on the topography of the field and planting density but the primary objectives is to keep the water levels at 50 to 75 cm from the surface at most times. peat subsidence (Dawson et al., 2010). ABOUT MPOC As such, mapping virgin peat soil areas is not liked by many soil surveyors. In order to rectify these problems, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) in collaboration with This is well known since tropical wood ranges from hard, medium to soft wood. There are diverse opinions on the suitability of peat soils for general agricultural use Coulter (1957) at one extreme, suggested that peat in peninsular Malaysia should be disposed of as rapidly as possible by removal, burning or deep drainage with the ultimate aim of using the underlying mineral subsoil for growing wet rice. However, we must caution that the problems with planting oil palms on deep peat escalated exponentially with the areas of peat, particularly in relation to the amount of good mineral soils in the plantation. Malaysia will introduce to Indonesia the application of tube wells in peat soil areas to stop the perennial haze problem affecting countries in the region. Early dressings with these micronutrients are essential to avoid mid-crown chlorosis, peat yellow and stump leaves respectively. The Soil Division of Sarawak (Malaysia) has adopted a definition for organic soil that is based on profile partition, i.e. Aim of this study is to determine physical and mechanical properties of tropical peatland in West Malaysia. Thus the priority is to provide high N rate (up to 1.2 kg urea palm-1 yr-1) in the initial immature phase and subsequently reduce it during the mature phase (0.5 to 1.25 kg urea palm-1 yr-1). This peat has unique characteristics, which makes it significantly different from other peat. } Alluvial soils are also known as fluvial soils or alluvium. No 2, Jalan 51A/223, Section 51A, Although it has high total N content, it also has high C:N ratio, rendering a slow availability of N to the plant. })(); Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Hooijer,A.,Page,S.,Jauhiainen,W.A.,Lee,X.X.,Idris,A.,Anshari,G.(2012). In Peninsular Malaysia, they are found in the coastal areas of the east and west Impacts of agricultural utilization of peat soils on the greenhouse gas balance IN Maria Streck (Editor): Peatlands and climate change, International Peat Society, 70-97. (Editors).Proceedings of the International Symposium and Workshop on Tropical Peatland, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The problems with deep peat lie in its physical and chemical characteristics. Besides, when wood fragments are present, the amount of sapric, hemic or fibric organic soil materials which are decomposable are reduced. Such emissions have an effect on climate change and this needs to be properly addressed. Tropical peat materials, just like temperate peat materials  can be differentiated based on the stage of decomposition.  There are 3 stages of decomposition, namel. are overlain with substantial formations of peat soils, almost unrivalled when compared to other parts of Malaysia. Before planting, the harvesting path and planting rows are mechanically consolidated by running an excavator 2 to 3 times over them. Bearing this in mind, United Plantations Berhad (UPB) has developed various novel methods to alleviate the problems and allow successful cultivation of oil palms on deep peat. Sandy soil within peat areas is proven to perform worse than at least 3 types of peat soil in this case (i.e. New evidence obtained from detailed soil surveys, mapping and classification shows that the majority of Malaysian lowland peat soils are mainly sapric and with many of them containing wood. Many publications on the CO2 emission on tropical peat extrapolate or use information from work carried out  on temperate peat. Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, University Malaysia, Sabah.His field of interest is environmental soil science. Wust,R.A.J., Bustin,R.M., Lavkulich,L.M.(2003). The low bulk density and subsidence earlier present obstacles to road construction and planting. window.mc4wp = { listeners: [], Apart from this, peat provides an imbalance nutritional medium for plant growth (Table 1). (2008). Draining peat soils releases carbon dioxide. They are also soft as they are organic (made up of mainly rotting plant materials) in nature. Oil palm plantations keep a high water table at 50-70 cm by following RSPO’s Best Management Practices for oil palm cultivation on peatland so as to obtain better yields. The planting of  sago palms and oil palms on peat soils were then tried and found to be economically feasible. The high water table and the soft nature of the soil  make peat soils soggy and it is not easy to walk on an undrained peat soil without sinking down. [addw2p name=”problemSoils”] Gondang. Spent garnet and sand were used as fillers. Planting density is also increased to 160 palms ha-1 to attain optimum leaf area index of 6.0 for production by the 10th year on this poor growing medium. Rehabilitation and alternative use can still save this rich soil, however. Sample chemical analysis of peat from Jalan Kebun Peat Research Station, West Selangor, Malaysia. Malaysian Palm Oil-Green Gold or Green Wash? Farming is a major economic activity which has been successfully carried out on peatland in Malaysia; starting with planting of vegetables and cash crops such as pineapples and tapioca or cassava during the second half  of the 20th century. The irreversible drying of the top layer is prevented by maintaining satisfactory water-level of 50 to 70 cm from surface, and good ground vegetation of light grasses and low density of Nephrolepis biserrata . The Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (STROPI) was founded in the year 2008. Table 1. Field and main roads are now created using spoils from roadside drains, levelled and compacted by bulldozer and then lined with laterite and mining ballasts. Excessive P application can leads to lower yield and Cu imbalance (Cheong and Ng, 1977). Oleszczuk,R., Regina,K., Szajdak,L., Hoper,H., Maryganova,V. } In Malaysia, peat has been classified as one of the major soil group. Upon drainage, peat will undergo irreversible drying and extensive subsidence of 3.6 cm yr-1. Malaysia, Malaysia) Peat soils impose special problems in Geotechnical Engineering design as well as Civil Engineering and constructions. As such, mapping virgin peat soil areas is not liked by many soil surveyors. RSPO. Oil Palm & The Environment 2010, 1,17-25. Field investigation: For laboratory investigation, peat soil was sampled from the Klang, Peninsular, West Malaysia. Maintenance of correct water levels is also important since hyperacidity seems to occur only during prolonged dry spell. SITEMAP Peat, in its natural state, contains excessive amount of water due to its low physiography and water holding capacity of 20 to 30 times its own weight. Soils are considered to include all naturally occurring loose or soft deposits overlying the solid bedrock. Moreover, it has low K, Cu, Zn and B and high acidity of pH less than 4.0 (Gourmit et al., 1987). Oil palms are cultivated on peat on a large scale since the mid fifties. The completed operation leaves a 9.5 to 11.5 m wide area free of timber and compacted to a depth of 40 to 50 cm (Figure 2). Since peat soils are organic in nature, the bulk density is also low. Peat is form by disintegration of plant and organic matters. High natural moisture content, high compressibility, low bearing capacity and medium to low permeability is a problem and characteristic of a peat soil. In total, Malaysia alone is estimated to have 9 Gt of carbon contained in its peatlands. In the field, CO2 emissions on peatland cultivated with oil palm are found to be on the lower end. Peat soils are formed from partially decomposed plant material under anaerobic water saturated conditions. Temperate peat deposits are also known to be derived from bryophytes and small shrubs while tropical peat deposits are derived from various tree species with root penetration up to several meters  (Wust, 2003). There occurs a wide variety of tropical wood. However, due to rapid industrialization and population growth, it has become necessary to have infrastructure facilities and road construction everywhere, including in the peat … } This approach was supported by the work of Gurmit et al. Subsidence and carbon loss in drained tropical peatlands. Agus,F., Henson,I.E., Suhardjo,B.H., Harris,N., van Noordwijk,M., Killen,T.J. This has been a consequence of the general lack of information and experience with tropical peat. In Malaysia, virgin lowland peat areas are often flooded and swampy. EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). With their soil made up of predominantly organic matter, the world’s peatlands store twice as much carbon dioxide, one of the climate-changing greenhouse gases, as its forests: an estimated 550 gigatons, to be precise. Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF). Malaysia does not use agroecological zones (AEZs) to plan for crop production. The first problem confronting a developer is to remove the excessive water in the peat swamp before felling and clearing operation can be initiated. In some parts of Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, there is not much option as to what type of land to use as the state has large areas of its land mass as peat. Melling,L., Goh,K.J., Beauvais,C., Hatano,R. Upon drainage (Table 2), liming and decline in C:N ratio and higher N availability. They are found in peatlands (also called bogs or mires). New classification systems for tropical organic rich deposits based on studies of the Tasek Bera Basin, Malaysia, Catena 53,133-163. Draining the peat swamp increases acidity as shown in Table 2. (2012) while IPCC (2014)  gave a value of 40 tonnes ha-1year-1. The institute was initially established as the Tropical Peat Research Laboratory Unit (TPRL) under the mandate of the Sarawak government. 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Peatlands are used as an alternative option for future development due to lack of suitable lands and expensive cost. In Malaysia, peat soil has been identified as one of the major groups of soils with low shear strength and high compressibility.  There was no general consensus among them with regard to the amount of peat emission and this shows the complexity and the lack of information on tropical peat soils. 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Catena 118,179-185. Mal. } wbmaster@mpoc.org.my, HOME Nevertheless, the results in Table 1 pointed to the fact that the CO2 emissions should range between 40 to 95 tonnes ha-1year-1. (2014), Classification of tropical lowland peats revisited: The case of Sarawak. Secondly, many tropical peat soils, such as those in Sarawak, have wood fragments in the soil solum. event : event, In Malaysia as a whole, there are three groups of lowland soils considered as problem soils, namely the sandy soils (Beach ridge [bris] and tin-tailings), peat and acid-sulphate soils. Most of researchers conducted investigations on the dynamic loading of soft soils such as sand and clay, but only a few had discovered the behaviour of peat in terms of static and dynamic loadings. Therefore, this part of the lecture note is extensively drawn from a paper written by Gurmit et al. Paramananthan S, Zauyah S, Lim CP, Chan YK, Boaklan D (1984) Proposals for a unified classification of organic soils in Malaysia. Tropical peat differs from temperate peat due to differences in climate and the plant species that decomposed to form […] (1987). This emission is 4.4 times larger than the emission reported in temperate and boreal peat, which is 15,944 tonnes ha-1year-1 (Oleszczuk, 2008). Tropical peats are, however, different from temperate peat as wood is often present. In the Malaysia, a study on water-table management was carried out on shallow and deep peat at MPOB Research Station, Sessang, Sarawak. 2013 supplement to the 2006 IPCC guidelines for national greenhouse gas inventories: Wetlands. These soils are being actively studied The peat formations in some parts of Sibu Town are well over 10 metres in depth. Peat covers approximately 8" of the land or about 3 million ha. callback: callback (2010).  Friends of the Earth (2008) estimated the CO2 emissions to be 70  tonnes ha-1year-1 under oil palm cultivation. According to Huat (2004), there are 3 million hectares or 8% area in Malaysia covered with peat. The high water table and the soft nature of the soil make peat soils soggy and it is not easy to walk on an undrained peat soil without sinking down. When present, it may be in different stages of decomposition (Photos 1-3). They are formed from the disintegration and decomposition of rocks and also by decomposition of organic materials. workshop on classification and management of peat in Malaysia. during the early Malaysian reconnaissance soil surveys. (1987) which showed good FFB response to N in the first 4 years of harvests only (Table 3). Table 2 : Chemical properties of undrained and drained peat, and different kinds of organic soil materials, Table 3 : Effect of nitrogen on ffb production. Proper soil and water management of oil palms on deep peat has resulted in FFB production closely mirroring that on good mineral soils (Figure 3). Soc. (function() { In Malaysia, peat, add' sulfate soils, soil on sandy beach deposits, saline soils and soils on ultrabasic rocks are commonly referred to as problem soils. On the other hand, potassium is very deficient in peat and hence, high rate of muriate of potash up to 5.0 kg palm-1 yr-1 is recommended (Gurmit et al., 1987). Consequently, aeration is poor and bulk density is very low at less than 0.1 g cm-3. In Malaysia, virgin lowland peat areas are often flooded and swampy. The result: dangerous, destructive peat fires that produce greenhouse gases and endangering human life and animal habitats. Thus, the majority of lowland peat soils in Malaysia are classified as Saprists under USDA Soil Taxonomy or as Histosols under FAO/UNESCO classification. Carbon flow and budget in a young mature oil palm agroecosystem on deep tropical peat. Due consideration should be given out to overdrain the area as this will result in rapid shrinkage of the peat and irreversible drying of the top layer, which adversely affects establishment and growth of oil palms. While high water tables are responsible for preventing the organic material from decaying, the flipside is that when these peat soils are drained, they are again exposed to oxygen.   United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given a higher CO2 emission value of 95 tonnes ha-1year-1 based on the study of Hooijer et al. 603 - 7806 4097 Thus, the break down or decay rate can vary depending on the types of wood present. if (!window.mc4wp) { 603 - 7806 2272 Hence, Saprists have very highly decomposed peat materials as shown in Table 2. Masing, who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development, said more than 60 per cent of Sarawak’s flat land consists of peat soil. They were left untouched and not used for farming. Yew, F.K., Sundram, K., Yusof, B. Based on this concept, there are probably six groups of problem soils, namely, deep peat; shallow acid sulfate soils; saline soils; shallow lateritic soils; podzols or spodosols, and; sandy soils (quartzipsamments) Each group of soils requires its own specific soil … The presence of soft or peaty soil is a major problem in Radiah Othman, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Head of Land Management Department, Faculty of Agriculture, University Putra Malaysia. While total N content can be high (1.3 to 1.5%), its availability is low due to high C:N ratio (Table 1). IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). There are 2.4 million hectares of peat in Malaysia, with 1.5 million hectares occurring in Sarawak alone. Peer review of the emission factor for tropical peatlands drained for palm oil cultivation. Over time, this creates a thick layer of acidic peat. Palm Oil Trade Fair And Seminar (POTS) 2020 Announcement, Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar (POTS) 2020 – Announcement. Biogeosciences 9: 1053-1071. Figure 1: Peat soil distribution map in Sarawak, Malaysia [2] 2.0 Several researchers have studied on the soft or peat soil TEST MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY Different types of peat soils were collected from six different locations (e.g., L 1 to L 6) in Matang area (from 0.40 to 0.80 m depth) designated as M 1 to M 6, respectively. Tropical lowland peats: to conserve or develop them. Thus, the amount of CO2 emission when the peat soil is drained is lower for one that has sapric instead of fibric material. Rasau, Dengkil, Selangor Ninth Regional Congress on Geology, Mineral and Energy Resources of Southeast Asia (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia) Tropical peat has not been well studied. MALAYSIA New information (Veloo et al., 2014 ) obtained from soil survey and soil classification research carried out in Sarawak, Malaysia is confirming that tropical peat soils are indeed different from temperate peat soils with many of the tropical peat soils containing wood materials in the soil solum. (2014). Problem Soils: Managing Deep Peat. Malaysia’s peatlands mainly consist of peat swamp forest, a critically endangered category of forested wetland characterised by deep layers of peat soil These soils are transported to their present position by rivers and streams. Veloo,R.,Paramananthan,S., van Ranst,E. Deep acid peat provides an interesting nutritional complexes to agronomists. Knowledge about the soils on which fertilizers are to be applied is important for better fertilizer management and use efficiency. ARCHIVE Oil palm has been grown on wet, organic peatlands for decades, but such cultivation has taken its toll on the land, leading to productivity loss and drainage. Sometimes, they can occupy as much as 50% or more of the soil layers. SUMMARY Peatland in Malaysia covers approximately 2.76 million hectares of which 796,782 hectares are in Peninsular Malaysia (Law and Selvadurai, 1968), 200,600 hectares in Sabah (Acres et al, 1975) and 1,765,547 hectares in Sarawak (Melling, 1999). He said construction of roads on peat soil poses great engineering challenges to Sarawak, as compared to road construction in Peninsular Malaysia where peat soil is almost non-existence. on: function (event, callback) { Peat soils in their natural state are wet with very high water table near to the soil surface. The mineralisation of peat also releases P to the system, which contains low Al and Fe for fixation. Peat swamps in Malaysia may store … The differences in peat classifications had caused difficulties in correlating the peat soils and the transferring of agro-technologies between Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Opinions from 5 experts on CO2 emissions in tropical peat drained for oil palm cultivation*, .table-s{border: 1px solid #cccccc;}
.table-s th{border: 1px solid #cccccc; } .table-s td{border: 1.5px solid #cccccc; background-color:#00868b; color: white;}, Source * EPA (2014) Based on the soil survey and mapping of a total of 700,000 hectares of lowland peat in Southeast Asia, the majority of them can be classified as Saprists (Paramanathan, personal communication). This is alleviated by periodic flushing of the drain water, especially during rainstorms, and liming. (2007). forms : { When peatland is drained for oil palm cultivation, break down of the peat materials releases CO2 into the atmosphere. However, excessive B application must be avoided as it can be phytotoxic and adversely affect the uptake of Cu (Gurmit et al., 1987). Thus, it is often doubted that this can be done since the factors of peat formation in temperate areas are different from that in tropical areas and the peat will be  different morpho-genetically (Paramanathan,2008; Yew et al., 2010). 7th Floor, Menara Axis, It was identified as a one of a major group of soil found in Malaysia. CO2 is emitted when carbon rich peat soils are disturbed for cultivation. As such, estimations of CO2 emissions are often extrapolated based on data  from temperate peat. A larger degree of breakdown quickly takes place in a soil with fibric materials when drained, resulting in higher CO2 emission. Oil palms are cultivated on peat on a large scale since the mid fifties. Peat is also deficient in Cu, Zn and B. Friends of the Earth.(2008). Land subsidence is a serious problem in Sibu Town with frequent refilling and repairing being carried out to reinstate structures, platforms and Moreover, blanket spraying may increase the risk of fire and affect the predator-pest balance. Review of emission factors for assessment of CO2 emission from land use change to oil palm in Southeast Asia.  Technical Panel of the 2nd Greenhouse Gas Working Group of RSPO. Malaysian peat is a tropical peat (Andriesse, 1988). Peat swamp forests are tropical moist forests where waterlogged soil prevents dead leaves and wood from fully decomposing. RSPO manual on best management practices for existing oil palm cultivation on peat,pp214. Soil Sci., March 1984 Google Scholar CONTACT US Large areas of these forests are being logged at high rates. Table 2: Type of peat and expected CO2 emission when drained, .tableizer-table td{color:#000000; border: 1px solid #ccc;}. However, major problems were encountered especially on deep peat and it was not until the eighties that oil palms are successful grown on it. The amount of drainage is another critical factor that determines CO2 emission; a higher emission is linked to deeper or more intense drainage. Most oil palm roots are concentrated in the top 50 cm of the peat soil. Hard wood, for example,  is very recalcitrant and can take a long time to break down and emit CO2 during the process. Trial pits were excavated to a depth of 1 m below the ground surface to measure ground water table and to obtain both undisturbed and disturbed soil samples below the ground water table. This research was conducted from November, 2007 to February, 2008. This research investigated the compressibility of natural peat soil and peat soil improved with polyurethane foam. When these peat soils are drained, the wood fragments do not decompose easily to add on to CO2 emission. EPA carried out a peer review of the emission factor for tropical peatlands drained for oil palm cultivation and the findings were reported in December 2014. Thus, peat soils are also known as organic soils. Telong, Naman and Bayas) mainly due to the spodic horizon which has an impact on drainage and root proliferation within the 50 cm depth. Periodic flushing of the acidic and excessive storm water during the rainy season is also carried out. International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference. }); Proc. This is achieved through a series of stops, weirs and watergates.  Since peat soils are organic in nature, the bulk density is also low. Much of the peat areas were marked as  swamp areas for this reason. For example, Agus et al., (2013) found that the emission from peat oxidation under oil palm cultivation was 43 t CO2 ha-1year-1. Consolidation increases the bulk density from 0.11 to 0.20 g cm-3, reduces the incidences of leaning and fallen palms by half and improves FFB yield by 25%. Later, these soils were planted with rubber but the venture was not successful due to badly leaning trees which made the tapping of the trees to extract latex very difficult. Coupled with the fact that peat soils are not excessively drained when planted with oil palm, the cultivation of such soils have lower CO2 emissions than what is reported currently. This problem can be solved by reducing the compressibility of the peat soil. This is done by constructing a perimeter drain, the dimensions of which depend on the size of area to be cleared and distance from a river outlet, using an excavator. (2013). This is a major problem for infrastructure development as the geotechnical properties of peat soils are lower than mineral soils. Similarly, Melling et al.,(2007) found an emission of 41 t CO2 ha-1year-1 for young mature oil palm area, with root respiration included. Paramananthan,S.(2010). Jour. (2012). This reduces the CO2 emission even further when the peat soils are drained. Most of the publications on CO2 emission on drained tropical lowland peat soils have been extrapolated from experiences based on temperate peat. Peatlands cover about 3% of the earth’s land mass; they are found in the temperate (Northern Europe and America) and tropical regions (South East Asia, South America, South Africa and the … Table 1. There are 2.4 million hectares of peat in Malaysia, with 1.5 million hectares occurring in Sarawak alone. EPA-420-F-14-061. The results in Table 1 show the opinions of the five  experts after their critical evaluations of the problems stated. Omar R C, Jaafar R and Hassan H 1998 Engineering Geology and Earthwork Problem Associated with Highway Construction in Soft Soil at Sg. The completed operation leaves a 9.5 to 3 times over them. Compared with rocks, soils are softer in terms of strength and more compressible, thus giving more problems to engineering works as compared with rocks. A high groundwater table management was designed to slow down peat decomposition, reduce CO 2 emission, minimize peat drying and protect the oil palm fronds against desiccation. To know the proper methods of ground improvement and to know the scale of improvement works, a proper soil investigation requires. As such  sapric, hemic and fibric peat may also have the following wood fragments in the soil solum:-, Photo 1: Deep peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia without wood.Â, Photo 2: Peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia with  decomposing wood .Â, Photo 3: Peat soil in Sarawak, Malaysia with  undecomposed wood.Â. Basically, the drainage system consists of a network of field, collection and main drains (Figure 1), the dimensions of which are: The intensity of drains depends on the topography of the field and planting density but the primary objectives is to keep the water levels at 50 to 75 cm from the surface at most times. peat subsidence (Dawson et al., 2010). ABOUT MPOC As such, mapping virgin peat soil areas is not liked by many soil surveyors. In order to rectify these problems, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) in collaboration with This is well known since tropical wood ranges from hard, medium to soft wood. There are diverse opinions on the suitability of peat soils for general agricultural use Coulter (1957) at one extreme, suggested that peat in peninsular Malaysia should be disposed of as rapidly as possible by removal, burning or deep drainage with the ultimate aim of using the underlying mineral subsoil for growing wet rice. However, we must caution that the problems with planting oil palms on deep peat escalated exponentially with the areas of peat, particularly in relation to the amount of good mineral soils in the plantation. Malaysia will introduce to Indonesia the application of tube wells in peat soil areas to stop the perennial haze problem affecting countries in the region. Early dressings with these micronutrients are essential to avoid mid-crown chlorosis, peat yellow and stump leaves respectively. The Soil Division of Sarawak (Malaysia) has adopted a definition for organic soil that is based on profile partition, i.e. Aim of this study is to determine physical and mechanical properties of tropical peatland in West Malaysia. Thus the priority is to provide high N rate (up to 1.2 kg urea palm-1 yr-1) in the initial immature phase and subsequently reduce it during the mature phase (0.5 to 1.25 kg urea palm-1 yr-1). This peat has unique characteristics, which makes it significantly different from other peat. } Alluvial soils are also known as fluvial soils or alluvium. No 2, Jalan 51A/223, Section 51A, Although it has high total N content, it also has high C:N ratio, rendering a slow availability of N to the plant. })(); Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) Hooijer,A.,Page,S.,Jauhiainen,W.A.,Lee,X.X.,Idris,A.,Anshari,G.(2012). In Peninsular Malaysia, they are found in the coastal areas of the east and west Impacts of agricultural utilization of peat soils on the greenhouse gas balance IN Maria Streck (Editor): Peatlands and climate change, International Peat Society, 70-97. (Editors).Proceedings of the International Symposium and Workshop on Tropical Peatland, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The problems with deep peat lie in its physical and chemical characteristics. Besides, when wood fragments are present, the amount of sapric, hemic or fibric organic soil materials which are decomposable are reduced. Such emissions have an effect on climate change and this needs to be properly addressed. Tropical peat materials, just like temperate peat materials  can be differentiated based on the stage of decomposition.  There are 3 stages of decomposition, namel. are overlain with substantial formations of peat soils, almost unrivalled when compared to other parts of Malaysia. Before planting, the harvesting path and planting rows are mechanically consolidated by running an excavator 2 to 3 times over them. Bearing this in mind, United Plantations Berhad (UPB) has developed various novel methods to alleviate the problems and allow successful cultivation of oil palms on deep peat. Sandy soil within peat areas is proven to perform worse than at least 3 types of peat soil in this case (i.e. New evidence obtained from detailed soil surveys, mapping and classification shows that the majority of Malaysian lowland peat soils are mainly sapric and with many of them containing wood. Many publications on the CO2 emission on tropical peat extrapolate or use information from work carried out  on temperate peat. Muhammad Aqeel Ashraf, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at Faculty of Science and Natural Resources, University Malaysia, Sabah.His field of interest is environmental soil science. Wust,R.A.J., Bustin,R.M., Lavkulich,L.M.(2003). The low bulk density and subsidence earlier present obstacles to road construction and planting. window.mc4wp = { listeners: [], Apart from this, peat provides an imbalance nutritional medium for plant growth (Table 1). (2008). Draining peat soils releases carbon dioxide. They are also soft as they are organic (made up of mainly rotting plant materials) in nature. Oil palm plantations keep a high water table at 50-70 cm by following RSPO’s Best Management Practices for oil palm cultivation on peatland so as to obtain better yields. The planting of  sago palms and oil palms on peat soils were then tried and found to be economically feasible. The high water table and the soft nature of the soil  make peat soils soggy and it is not easy to walk on an undrained peat soil without sinking down. [addw2p name=”problemSoils”] Gondang. Spent garnet and sand were used as fillers. Planting density is also increased to 160 palms ha-1 to attain optimum leaf area index of 6.0 for production by the 10th year on this poor growing medium. Rehabilitation and alternative use can still save this rich soil, however. Sample chemical analysis of peat from Jalan Kebun Peat Research Station, West Selangor, Malaysia. Malaysian Palm Oil-Green Gold or Green Wash? Farming is a major economic activity which has been successfully carried out on peatland in Malaysia; starting with planting of vegetables and cash crops such as pineapples and tapioca or cassava during the second half  of the 20th century. The irreversible drying of the top layer is prevented by maintaining satisfactory water-level of 50 to 70 cm from surface, and good ground vegetation of light grasses and low density of Nephrolepis biserrata . The Sarawak Tropical Peat Research Institute (STROPI) was founded in the year 2008. Table 1. Field and main roads are now created using spoils from roadside drains, levelled and compacted by bulldozer and then lined with laterite and mining ballasts. Excessive P application can leads to lower yield and Cu imbalance (Cheong and Ng, 1977). Oleszczuk,R., Regina,K., Szajdak,L., Hoper,H., Maryganova,V. } In Malaysia, peat has been classified as one of the major soil group. Upon drainage, peat will undergo irreversible drying and extensive subsidence of 3.6 cm yr-1. Malaysia, Malaysia) Peat soils impose special problems in Geotechnical Engineering design as well as Civil Engineering and constructions. As such, mapping virgin peat soil areas is not liked by many soil surveyors. RSPO. Oil Palm & The Environment 2010, 1,17-25. Field investigation: For laboratory investigation, peat soil was sampled from the Klang, Peninsular, West Malaysia. Maintenance of correct water levels is also important since hyperacidity seems to occur only during prolonged dry spell. SITEMAP Peat, in its natural state, contains excessive amount of water due to its low physiography and water holding capacity of 20 to 30 times its own weight. Soils are considered to include all naturally occurring loose or soft deposits overlying the solid bedrock. Moreover, it has low K, Cu, Zn and B and high acidity of pH less than 4.0 (Gourmit et al., 1987). Oil palms are cultivated on peat on a large scale since the mid fifties. The completed operation leaves a 9.5 to 11.5 m wide area free of timber and compacted to a depth of 40 to 50 cm (Figure 2). Since peat soils are organic in nature, the bulk density is also low. Peat is form by disintegration of plant and organic matters. High natural moisture content, high compressibility, low bearing capacity and medium to low permeability is a problem and characteristic of a peat soil. In total, Malaysia alone is estimated to have 9 Gt of carbon contained in its peatlands. In the field, CO2 emissions on peatland cultivated with oil palm are found to be on the lower end. Peat soils are formed from partially decomposed plant material under anaerobic water saturated conditions. Temperate peat deposits are also known to be derived from bryophytes and small shrubs while tropical peat deposits are derived from various tree species with root penetration up to several meters  (Wust, 2003). There occurs a wide variety of tropical wood. However, due to rapid industrialization and population growth, it has become necessary to have infrastructure facilities and road construction everywhere, including in the peat … } This approach was supported by the work of Gurmit et al. Subsidence and carbon loss in drained tropical peatlands. Agus,F., Henson,I.E., Suhardjo,B.H., Harris,N., van Noordwijk,M., Killen,T.J. This has been a consequence of the general lack of information and experience with tropical peat. In Malaysia, virgin lowland peat areas are often flooded and swampy. EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). With their soil made up of predominantly organic matter, the world’s peatlands store twice as much carbon dioxide, one of the climate-changing greenhouse gases, as its forests: an estimated 550 gigatons, to be precise. Malaysian Palm Oil Wildlife Conservation Fund (MPOWCF). Malaysia does not use agroecological zones (AEZs) to plan for crop production. The first problem confronting a developer is to remove the excessive water in the peat swamp before felling and clearing operation can be initiated. In some parts of Malaysia, particularly Sarawak, there is not much option as to what type of land to use as the state has large areas of its land mass as peat. Melling,L., Goh,K.J., Beauvais,C., Hatano,R. Upon drainage (Table 2), liming and decline in C:N ratio and higher N availability. They are found in peatlands (also called bogs or mires). New classification systems for tropical organic rich deposits based on studies of the Tasek Bera Basin, Malaysia, Catena 53,133-163. Draining the peat swamp increases acidity as shown in Table 2. (2012) while IPCC (2014)  gave a value of 40 tonnes ha-1year-1. The institute was initially established as the Tropical Peat Research Laboratory Unit (TPRL) under the mandate of the Sarawak government. 46100 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Peatlands are used as an alternative option for future development due to lack of suitable lands and expensive cost. In Malaysia, peat soil has been identified as one of the major groups of soils with low shear strength and high compressibility.  There was no general consensus among them with regard to the amount of peat emission and this shows the complexity and the lack of information on tropical peat soils.

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