Potential of Upland Peat Soil Within Tropical Kelabit Highland, Sarawak Malaysia

Author: MAHFSA-GEC  |   May 15, 2023  |   Initiatives   |   Location

Though conventionally in tropical countries, peat soils and peatlands are found mostly within lowland and coastal areas, the forested area within Sarawak’s Kelabit Highland mount range in northern Sarawak surprisingly appear to have yielded some potential to become home to upland peatlands.

Home to 7,000 community members of the Kelabit tribe from across 14 different villages within remote longhouses of the virgin forests of Kelabit highland, this highlands, rich with biodiversity now holds the potential for peat soils and peat soils, according Global Environment Centre’s rapid assessment conducted here during their mission in February 2023.

With an elevation around and more than 1000 m, this survey manages to find a few area spots in Bario that potentially hosting peat soils, ranging from 1.1m to 1.8m in peat depths. Samples were taken back to Petaling Jaya, Selangor for laboratory assessment and the conclusive results are expected to be finalised soon.

Moving forward, the area identified will need an intensive mapping to check the extent of peatland area within the highlands

The rapid assessment that was carried out also served as a training ground for the ranger and Pulong Tau National Park (PTNP) park warden to conduct further peat soil assessment within the area in the future. During the mission, GEC initiated several engagement sessions with local authorities such as Pulong Tau National Park and Sarawak Administrator Officer of Bario to update them on the progress and status for the work and findings, and as such received positive feedback.

Additionally, GEC also has hired new local facilitator in Bario town to facilitate and enhance ongoing community-based activities and peat soil assessment within the area.

Meet up with SAO Bario | Credit: GEC
Meet up with Park Warden of Pulong Tau National Park | Credit: GEC
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