American Journal of Applied Sciences

Effects of Converting Tropical Peat Swamp Forest into Oil Palm Plantation on Water Quality

Seca Gandaseca, Noraini Rosli, Mohd Hanafi Idris, Osumanu Haruna Ahmed and Ahmad Mustapha Mohamad Pazi

DOI : 10.3844/ajassp.2015.525.532

American Journal of Applied Sciences

Volume 12, Issue 8

Pages 525-532

Abstract

Peat swamp forest is a unique forest and wetlands ecosystem that recognized as one of the most important reservoir of biodiversity and water resources protection. Rapid development particularly for development, agriculture and plantation in peat swamp forest (PSF) area had given negative impacts to its ecosystem included degradation of its water quality. This study was conducted to determine water quality condition at undisturbed (natural peat swamp forest) and disturbed (converted peat swamp forest) and to determine its effects of forest conversion on water quality. A total of 324 water samples were collected at Sibu, Tatau, Pandan and Sepadok within two years sampling. Based on Water Quality Index (WQI) by Department of Environment Malaysia; river water at PSF of Sibu and Tatau were found categorized under Class IV (slightly polluted) while river water at Pandan and Sepadok categorized under Class III (moderate) water quality status. The most influence parameter that causes the deteriorating of water quality at Sibu and Tatau is low dissolved oxygen (DO), high concentration of ammonia nitrogen (NH3-N) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) and acidic water pH. Based on this study; river water at PSF of Sibu and Tatau (converted peat swamp forest) could affected and polluted due to agricultural and oil palm plantation activities that took place at the area while compared to river water at PSF of Pandan and Sepadok (natural peat swamp forest) that found categorized under Class III (moderate) water quality status. If proper alternative procedures such as sustainable management of water resources, protection of logging and awareness education of local folk are not undertaken, it could lead to the deterioration of the PSF ecosystem. Strategic management practices and applications of technologies to minimize the impacts to PSF should be done on the surrounding environment in order to preserve this natural heritage and for the sustainable management of the ecosystem and conservation of the PSF and its water resources.

Copyright

© 2015 Seca Gandaseca, Noraini Rosli, Mohd Hanafi Idris, Osumanu Haruna Ahmed and Ahmad Mustapha Mohamad Pazi. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.