Peat resource management in Peninsula Malaysia
: connections between policy and practice

  • Sasikala Kumaran

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    Scientists and conservation organisations have raised concerns that the clearing and conversion of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia affect the rate of emission of greenhouse gases and lead to biodiversity loss. It has also given rise to recurrent annual haze, which has had serious implications on the health of the people and the economy of the region. This thesis analyses the impacts of policy on the utilisation of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia. It examines policies to assess if they are functioning as intended and explores why some appear to be failing to fulfil their objectives. Influenced by the Public Policy Analysis and the Institutional Resource Regime frameworks, the thesis describes the main uses, the users and actors of peatland management in Peninsular Malaysia and the related policies (as well as regulations). It also discusses the implementation of the resource regime, using the North Selangor Peat Swamp Forest, the Southeast Pahang Peat Swamp Forest and the Ayer Hitam Forest Reserve in Johor as three case study sites. 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 the rivalries and gaps, and institutional mechanisms set up for collaborative cooperation are also discussed. My results suggest that the public policy implementation modalities of peatland management in Peninsular Malaysia and their effect on sustainability is dependent on the relations between the Federal State and the federated states, as well as on the weak endowment in action resources of politico-administrative actors in charge of policy implementation. It also concludes that peatland management in Peninsular Malaysia is a simple regime where a limited number of the goods and services provided by peatlands and peat swamp forests are regulated in a coordinated way. However this has meant that many of the actual uses are unregulated, leaving a large scope of manoeuvre for individual exploitation and the avoidance of the constraints needed if policy is to be implemented successfully.
    Date of AwardDec 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorStephen Garnett (Supervisor) & Dennis Shoesmith (Supervisor)

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