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The Wetland Book pp 1851-1864 | Cite as

Wetlands of Tasek Bera (Peninsular Malaysia)

  • R. Crawford Prentice
Reference work entry

Abstract

Tasek Bera is an alluvial peat swamp ecosystem including a range of freshwater and lowland forest habitats located in the central lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia. The wetland system consists of a dendritic complex of inflowing streams and swamps whose water levels fluctuate markedly, rising by 1-5m during the monsoon periods. This dynamic flooding regime is an important underlying factor in the ecology of the wetland. The catchment area is around 61,380 ha, while the Ramsar Site of 38,446 ha includes 6,830 ha of wetland habitats supporting diverse flora and fauna including 94 fish and 10 turtle species and many globally threatened species. Its catchment has been occupied for over 600 years by the Semelai Orang Asli (aboriginal people), who traditionally practice shifting cultivation of hill rice combined with collection of forest and wetland products, although their livelihoods are changing. The site was relatively unknown until the early 1970s, when a detailed ecological study was conducted before major clearance of lowland forest took place for the establishment of rubber and oil palm plantations. During the last 40 years, the surface layer of sediments has been enriched by clay minerals in response to disturbance of the wetland environment, especially plantation development, which may eventually lead to the termination of peat accumulation processes. Tasek Bera was designated as Malaysia’s first Ramsar Site in 1994, with its management subsequently established with assistance from an international project from 1996 to 1999. While the area has remained protected, water levels have reportedly declined with more prolonged dry periods in recent years, likely attributable to the continuing development of the catchment area. In order to stabilize or reverse these trends, improved catchment management is needed based on systematic monitoring and research on the wetland’s hydrological regime and water quality.

Keywords

Peat swamp forests Semelai orang asli Sedge Pandanus Wetland fauna Oil palm plantation 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nature Management ServicesHiston, CambridgeUK

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