Peat mining can define as operation which is done by dredging it from a floating pontoon with a dragline. The pontoon floated on a pool of water (the dredge pool) created by the hole left by the removal of peat. Conservation are aims to conserve, improve and make more efficient use of natural resources through integrated management of available soil, water and biological resources combined with external inputs (Garcia et al., 2003). There are many country of peat mining in the world even they can give bad impact to Earth. There are Finland, Alaska, Minnesota, Florida, New Brunswick (Canada), Ireland, Turkey, Belarus, South African, Malawi and US. Most of this country makes peat mining as one of their industry. Energy is vital for all modern societies and crucial for the economies of developed and developing countries. The recent dispute between Ukraine and Russia about natural gas, where Russia cut off gas exports to Ukraine during the winter 2006, is a vivid example of the importance of energy supply diversification (Bellais, 2007). Peat is mined mainly for fuel. In several countries peat is mined and burned for its energy value, providing an important local and national source of heat and power. In total, some 21 million tones of peat generate about five to six million tones of oil equivalent per year (IPS and IMCG, 2002). Mined peat also offers an ideal substrate for horticultural and silvicultural plant production.There are many other uses of peatlands and peat, including fertilizer, building and insulation systems, animal stable litter, alcoholic drinks, environmental improvement and purification systems, balneology, therapy, medicine and textiles. Peat mining will give bad impact to biodiversity of the word. Wetlands provide a diversity of habitats for macro and microorganisms to complete their life cycle and habitat degradation has serious repercussions on the persistence of animal populations (Gibbs 1993). Peat mining may effects on the quality of waters receiving the drainage. Suspended solid transport from peat mining areas is often higher than from unexploited, natural peat lands (Kantola et al., 1994).
Policies or act is important to control such a peat mining. That is because it will give a negative effect beside can give a huge profit to certain country. However the act is different depends to country. Recently, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2006. Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories explain that peat does not qualify as a biofuel because of the length of time required for peat to re-accumulate after harvest. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2006 Peat mining (large-scale mechanical harvesting) significantly impacts peat land ecosystems. The reduction of peat affects many species by removing food for mammals and birds and reducing cover for nesting. The most effective way of ensuring this is to conserve the remaining peat land forests, while at the same time rehabilitating degraded peat land. The natural water table regime should be restored as much possible by improving water management - by reducing drainage or stopping it altogether, for example by closing drainage canals or erosion gullies by dams (Wetlands International, 2007). This can serve to reduce carbon release and preserve their function as carbon sinks and reservoirs which may contribute to global warming. Peat is conserved also for wise use purpose to meet human needs and to have sufficient area of peat lands remain to carry out their vital natural resource functions while satisfying essential requirements of present and future human generations (IPS and IMCG,2002). Peat land function as a transition zone between upland and aquatic ecosystems, storing and attenuating waters between these two zones, and affecting waters passing though them (Halsey et al. 1997). Peat swaps also plays an important part in stabilizing the ecosystem, particularly in the control of drainage, microclimate, water purification and soil formation (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Malaysia, 2006). Studies examining the downstream impacts of peat harvesting on water quality have found decreases in pH, alkalinity, specific conductance, hardness, calcium, and magnesium, and increases in nitrate, turbidity, suspended solids, total organic carbon, and barium (Clausen and Brooks 1983, Washburn and Gillis Associates 1983). Because almost all ecosystems have been disturbed to various degrees by human activity in peat land, it is important to know to what extent these ecosystem regenerate after the end of disturbance.
If natural regeneration process fails to reestablish vegetation communities similar to those present before the disturbance, this indicate that threshold in the regeneration potential have been crossed and restoration activities are needed. But in most of the cases the ecosystem are totally destroyed and natural regeneration not take place (Mitsch, 2000).
OBJECTIVE To study about peat mining and conservation in foreign country and it’s relevant to Malaysia.
In other to achieve our objective, we will find information about peat mining and conservation from UPMKB library. The books that we want to choose for this case study are regarding peat soil management, peat soil conservation and peat mining. We also want to search information from journals that approve by UPM regarding peat swamp and ecosystem, impact of peat mining, benefits of peat harvesting, current issues regarding peat mining and policies for peat mining. We also want to interview some lecturers that expert in this field for further information.
3.0 EXPECTED OUTCOME
Learn about the effects of peat mining to ecosystem, the techniques involve in peat conservation and the important of peat conservation.
Tranter,D. and H.Tranter. 1997. 'Summing up of evidence presented to the Mining
Warden's Inquiry into renewal of leases to mine peat in Wingecarribee Swamp.' Robertson: Robertson Environmental Protection Society.
W. David Ferguson, Deputy Minister, 2005. Peat mining policy. Department of Natural Davis, N. and Rose, K. 2008. A Biophysical Inventory and Evaluation of the Lulu Island
Resources, New Brunswick, Canada. 3. Bog, Richmond, British Columbia. Richmond: Richmond Nature Park Society. 4. Bellais, M. 2007. Modelling of the Pyrolysis of Large Wood Particles. Ph. D. Thesis,
97p. Stockholm: KTH-Royal Institute of Technology. 5. IPS (International Peat Society) and IMCG (International Mire Conservation Group).
2002. Statement on the Wise Use of Peatlands. 6. Paavilainen, E. and Paivanen, J. 1995. Peatland Forestry Ecology and Principles. Berlin:
Schilstra, A. J. 2001. Analysis: How Sustainable is the Use of Peat for Commercial
Energy Production? Journal of Ecological Economics 39: 285-293. 8. Wetlands International. 2007. Peatland Loss Fuels Climate Change: Global Value of
Stopping Peatland Degradation.