Action: Retain/create habitat corridors in farmed areas
- One study evaluated the effects on peatland vegetation, in habitat patches or within corridors, of retaining or creating habitat corridors in farmed areas.This study was in a tropical peat swamp.
- Vegetation structure (1 study): One study in Indonesia found that a peat swamp forest corridor contained 5,819 trees/ha. This included 331 large trees/ha, 1,360 saplings/ha and 4,128 seedlings/ha.
- Overall plant richness/diversity (1 study): The same study recorded 18–29 tree species in the peat swamp forest corridor (the number of species depending on the size class).
Habitat corridors are strips that link two larger habitat patches – in this case preventing peatland patches from being separated by agricultural land. By connecting the habitat patches, corridors could improve survival prospects of peatland plant populations. Seeds, pollen or vegetation fragments can more easily move between the habitat patches (perhaps carried by animals), maintaining populations and diversity in each (Damschen et al. 2006). Caution: Habitat corridors can have negative effects. For example, corridors can allow diseases, non-native species and fire to spread between patches (Resasco et al. 2014).
To help you interpret the summarized study, peat swamps in South East Asia typically contain 30–122 large (trunk diameter >10 cm) tree species/ha (Posa et al. 2011).
Key peatland types where this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related actions: retain/create habitat corridors in areas of energy production or mining.
Damschen E.I., Haddad N.M., Orrock J.L., Tewksbury J.J. & Levey D.J. (2006) Corridors increase plant species richness at large scales. Science, 313, 1284–1286.
Posa M.R.C., Wijedasa L. & Corlett R.T. (2011) Biodiversity and conservation of tropical peat swamp forests. BioScience, 61, 49–57.
Resasco J., Haddad N.M., Orrock J.L., Shoemaker D., Brudvig L., Damschen E.I., Tewksbury J.J. & Levy D.J. (2014) Landscape corridors can increase invasion by an exotic species and reduce diversity of native species. Ecology, 95, 2033–2039.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A study in 2007 in a peat swamp forest corridor in Indonesia (Gunawan et al. 2007) reported that the corridor contained 5,819 trees/ha (of all sizes) and 18–29 species (depending on size class). There were 331 large trees/ha, 1,360 saplings/ha and 4,128 seedlings/ha. There were 27 different species of large tree, 18 species of sapling and 29 species of seedling (total number of species not reported). The study does not report comparable data for natural peat swamp forests. The tallest trees were 48 m high. In 2007, one 100 x 100 m plot was established in a forest corridor (100–500 m wide), retained for nature conservation within a red wattle Acacia crassicarpa plantation. The water table was approximately 1 m lower than in natural peat swamp forest. Trees at all life stages were counted, measured and identified: large trees (trunk diameter >10 cm) in the entire plot, saplings (diameter 5–10 cm) in twenty-five 5 x 5 m subplots, and seedlings (diameter <5 cm) in twenty-five 2 x 2 m subplots.