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Characteristics of Freshwater Swamp Forests – Functions – Distributions

by Grace Sabathya

Forest is known as a place of various living creature species, both plants and animals. Forests also have many benefits, especially for the survival of all living creatures that live on Earth. Some of the benefits that can be obtained from forests are as:

  • Place of natural resources, such as water and forest products (wood, plants)
  • As a place for protected and endangered animals
  • As a source of oxygen or the lungs of the world.

So it’s unfortunate that in recent years there have been frequent cases of forest fires, one of which is a forest fire in Amazon that has received much attention from various countries in the world. As we know, the largest number of animal species in the world comes from Amazon forest.

Speaking of forests, it turns out that in this world there are various types of forests located in several places, even in an area there is the possibility of having more than one type of forest. Forests are grouped into several types for example based on:

  • Types of trees planted
    • homogeneous forest
    • heterogeneous forest
  • Based on the function
    • nature reserve forest
    • production forest
    • protected forest
  • Based on height of the place
    • coastal forest
    • lowland forest
    • fog forest
    • upper and lower mountain forests
    • elfin forest

And there are still many other types of forests in worlds. One type of forest that based on soil conditions is freshwater swamp forest. Freshwater swamp forests are found in many places that are inundated by water, including in Indonesia. Then, what is freshwater swamp forest and what are the characteristics of that forest, including the fuctions and distributions? The following discussion will explain.

Swamp Forest Types

Before discussing more about freshwater swamp forests, we need to know in advance what swamp forests are. Swamp forest is a forest that grows and also develops in areas or areas that are inundated by fresh water. Swamp forests are usually found close to or behind mangrove forests with brackish water conditions. However, in certain times swamp forests can also be formed in areas that are not far from the flow of the river if the rain that falls on an area causes the area is always inundated by water. The types of swamp forests include:

  1. Peat swamp forest. The characteristics of peat swamp forest are formed from the remains of animals and plants which in the process require a very long or slow time. As a result, the soil in peat swamp forests has very high organic matter content. Most peat swamp forests are found in coastal areas and are better known as coastal wetlands and inland wetlands behind the mangroves.
  2. Freshwater swamp forest. A swamp forest with very high mineral content on the surface of the land. Usually freshwater swamp forests are overgrown by dense forest plants. This forest is also located between two rivers and deep into the interior. In other words, freshwater swamp forest is between peat swamp forest and lowland forest.
  3. Swamp without forest. It is a swampy area that forms part of the forest swamp ecosystem. However, this forest is only overgrown by small plants and shrubs.

Characteristics of Freshwater Swamp Forests

Freshwater swampforest swamp forest is a forest area that has differences in terms of land. Freshwater swamp forests have very high mineral content at the surface of the soil. The characteristics of freshwater swamp forests are:

  • The forest is in an area that is always inundated by fresh water on its soil and is not affected by climate change.
  • Usually a lot overgrown by plants or vegetation that falls into the category of always green, namely plants in the form of trees with a height of about 40 meters and there are several layers of canopy. No wonder the freshwater swamp forest is similar to a tropical rain forest.
  • Many are overgrown by rooted trees with knee buds submerged by water
  • Land that is always inundated by fresh water makes the soil structure becomes mud.
  • Usually it is behind brackish forest and alluvial soils with poor aeration, water acidity or pH less than 6, and peat is found at the bottom.

As mentioned above that the vegetation that grows in freshwater swamp forests varies greatly, but this also depends on the soil conditions. In general, many plant species are found in freshwater swamp forests of Eucalyptus degulpta, Palaquium leiocarpum, Gareinia spp., Campnosperms macrophylla, Shorea uliginosa, Koompassia spp., Xylopia spp. Not only that, each of these plant species is always found in a group condition in other words these plants are very few in species so that the distribution of plants found in freshwater swamp forests tends to be uneven. That’s the characteristics of freshwater swamp forests, and now we will discuss about the functions and distributions.

Functions of Freshwater Swamp Forests

  1. As a source of water reserves during the dry season.
  2. Biosphere reserve. One of them is in the form of the Giam Siak Kecil Biosphere Reserve which is used as an area with harmonious relations between economic development, community empowerment and environmental protection.
  3. Prevent intrusion that comes from sea water into river water or ground water.
  4. Prevent flooding when the rainy season arrives or the volume of water increases.
  5. As a source of energy or food source for several types of living things that live in freshwater swamp forests.
  6. As a home or residence for several types of plants and animals.
  7. Helps absorb carbon carried out by plants by carrying out the process of photosynthesis.

Distribution and Examples of Vegetation from Freshwater Swamp Forests in Indonesia

In Indonesia, freshwater swamp forests are found in the eastern islands of Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua in the south. As explained above if plants in freshwater swamp forests depend on soil conditions.

  • In Papua freshwater swamp forests are overgrown by Campnosperms sp., Melaleuca sp., Terminallia sp., And Erythrina fusca.
  • In Sumatra most of the plant species are Dipetorakarp namely Hopea Raising, Dryobalanops oblongifolia, Dipterocarpus lowii, Anisoptera marginata, S. Macroptera, S. Platycarpa, S. Singkawang and many others.
  • In Kalimantan the types of plants that are often found are Dipeterocarpus oblongifolius and Mangifera gedebe.

Thus the discussion about the characteristics of freshwater swamp forests, the functions, and distributions. Although different types, but still the main function of the forest that is as a source of oxygen that is useful for all living things. Hopefully the information above can be useful.

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