Peat Resource Management in Peninsular Malaysia: Applying the Institutional Resource Regime Framework

Peat Resource Management in Peninsular Malaysia: Applying the Institutional Resource Regime Framework

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 10:00 to 11:00

About the Presenter

Shashi Kumaran’s research for her PhD involves an analysis of public policy on peat resource management in Peninsular Malaysia. She completed her MSc in Sustainable Rural Development in the Tropics at Edinburgh University, UK where she looked at the impacts of sheep grazing on peat erosion and salmon in the Burrishoole Catchment in County Mayo, Ireland. Her interest in natural resource management stems from her involvement with conservation organisations in Peninsular Malaysia working on wetland management. She has helped developed management plans for Malaysia’s first Ramsar site Tasek Bera. Before embarking on her PhD, she coordinated a regional project administered by the ASEAN Secretariat to enhance peatland management in Southeast Asia, especially through a network of sites in the region showcasing best management practices.


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The concern for the clearing of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia has been centred on annual peat fires causing ‘haze,’ which has had serious implications on the health of the people and the economy of the region. In the peat fires of 1997/98, 2.2 million ha of peatlands in SEA were burnt and this contributed 6% of the world’s annual CO2 emission.

This presentation analyses the impacts of policy on the utilisation of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia. It examines policy to assess if they are functioning as intended and explores why some appear to be failing to fulfil their objectives.

Using the Institutional Resource Regime framework for natural resource management, the presentation describes the main uses, policies (as well as regulations) and stakeholders of peatland management in Peninsular Malaysia and the interaction between these three elements of the framework. Key ecosystem services provided by peatlands and peat swamp forests in Peninsular Malaysia and their rivalries are highlighted, as well as gaps in policy for peatland management. Attempts that have been made to regulate these rivalries and gaps, and institutional mechanisms set up for collaborative cooperation are also discussed. My analysis of peatland policy in Peninsular Malaysia suggests it is a simple regime where a limited number of the goods and services are regulated in an incoherent way. 

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