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Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp Forest Reserve, Muar, Johor

Sponsored by

Malaysia, Johor, Parit Tengah, Parit Sulong

The Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp Forest Reserve is the largest swamp forest in Johor. This peat forest covers 3.797 hectares of land. The surroundings of the reserve are dominated by oil palm plantations, fruit orchards and vegetable farms. These actions cause the destruction of natural habitats of animals including Betta persephone. Photos of the reserve are taken by Mohd Ilham Norakim Lokman.

Submitted by
Kamil Wronikowski
Approved by
Heok Hee Ng & Greg Martin
GPS
2.0321455, 102.7991257
Geographical region
Southeastern Asia
Drainage Basin
River catchment
Water body type
Wetland
Water body name
Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp Forest Reserve
Water body part
Water body course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name

Videos above and below water

Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Black water
Water transparency
Medium
Concentration of sediments
Medium
Water temperature
25-26 °C
Water flow/curent
None

Chemical parameters

pH
4
Conductivity
73
GH
KH
Dissolved Oxygen
24.5 %

Substrate in nature

Sand
None
Pebble/Gravel
None
Stone
None
Stone form
Silt/Mud
Black
Leaves
Many
Driftwood
Many
Submerged terrestrial vegetation
Yes

Aquatic Biotope

Date of collecting
June, 2022
Collecting area
Flooded area
Water depth
0,2m
Air temperature
28 °C
Sunlight
Partial shade

Environment

Environment
Affected by human activity
Affected by human activity
Agriculture
Agriculture
Advanced
Surrounding area

The Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp Forest Reserve has countless small ponds where live various aquatic organisms.

The reserve areas are densely forested. The reserve is surrounded by many oil palm plots and agricultural land that cause environmental degradation. Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp forest develops between three river systems: Muar River in the northwest, Sarang Buaya River in the south and Batu Pahat River in the southeast.

Underwater landscape

Most ponds have no underwater plants. In such an environment there is little light through the canopy of trees. Water has an amber color due to humic acid and other substances from decomposing organic matter. The bottom consists of peat and silt and dead leaves, branches and roots of trees that provide a hiding place for fish and other aquatic organisms.

Fishes:

  • Betta bellica (Osphronemidae)
  • Betta persephone (Osphronemidae)
  • Boraras maculatus (Danionidae)
  • Rasbora einthovenii (Danionidae)
  • Lepidocephalichthys tomaculum (Cobitidae)

Aquatic plants:

  • Cryptocoryne x purpurea (Araceae) – The hybrid formula is C. cordata × C. griffithii. 
  • Lemna minor (Araceae)
Threats to ecology

Ayer Hitam Peat Swamp Forest Reserve is the largest swamp-peat forest in Johor. It is a shelter for many animals and plants. There are many endemic species in this reserve. One of them is Betta persephone.

The biggest threat to AHPSFR are oil palm plantations. Farmers often enter the AHPSFR and turn the wilderness into plantations, which contributes to environmental degradation. Often, farmers use inorganic fertilizers and pesticides that enter AHPSFR watercourses from oil palm plantations and cause water pollution.

Another threat is illegal logging. As a result, the forest floor dries out and powerful fires are created, causing significant damage to the AHPSFR.

In addition, illegal mining also contributes to the destruction of the natural environment.

Riparian zone

Trees near the aquatic habitat
Many -