Thu 13 April 2017: 10am @ DBS CR1 (S3-05) – “Past, Present and Future of Southeast Asian Peatlands” by Lahiru Suranga Wijedasa

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Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Qualifying Exam

“Past, Present and Future of Southeast Asian Peatlands”

Lahiru Suranga Wijedasa
Graduate Student, Dept. of Biological Sciences, NUS
Thu 13 April 2017: 10am | DBS Conference Room (S3, Level 5)
Supervisor: Asst. Prof Ryan Chisholm

Abstract – Southeast Asian peatswamp forests are wetland ecosystems created and maintained by the interaction of vegetation and hydrology. Extreme habitat conditions such as high acidity, low nutrients and fluctuating water tables have resulted in special adaptations and high levels of endemism in peatswamp biodiversity. The conditions that led to adaptations (i.e. high acidity and low oxygen levels) have also resulted in peatswamps accumulating and storing vast quantities of carbon. While understanding peatswamp biodiversity and carbon storage is still in its early stages, vast areas of peatswamp forests have already been converted or have been designated for conversion to agriculture with the loss of biodiversity and release of vast quantities of carbon into the atmosphere.

I aim to reduce uncertainties in our understanding of Southeast Asian peatswamp biodiversity distribution, management and conservation through the following three chapters: 1) quantify drivers of land use change and estimate resultant CO2 emissions, 2) quantify and estimate above ground biomass distribution, 3) prioritize peatswamp areas for conservation and 4) understand the drivers of forest structure in peatswamps.

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