Research Article Open Access

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

Seca Gandaseca1, Noraini Rosli2, Mohd Hanafi Idris2, Osumanu Haruna Ahmed2 and Ahmad Mustapha Mohamad Pazi1
  • 1 Department of Forest Production, Faculty of Forestry, University Putra Malaysia, UPM Serdang 43400, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
  • 2 Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Bintulu Sarawak Campus, Nyabau Road, Post Box No. 396, 97008 Bintulu, Sarawak, Malaysia


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.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 12 No. 8, 2015, 525-532


Submitted On: 1 April 2015 Published On: 3 September 2015

How to Cite: Gandaseca, S., Rosli, N., Idris, M. H., Ahmed, O. H. & Pazi, A. M. M. (2015). Effects of Converting Tropical Peat Swamp Forest into Oil Palm Plantation on Water Quality. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 12(8), 525-532.

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  • Water Quality Index
  • Water Quality Parameters
  • Natural Peat Swamp Forest
  • Converted Peat Swamp Forest
  • Oil Palm Plantation