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How to Manage Peatland in Indonesia (Pt 2)

Hi, everyone!

I'm back! Indri here from THINK-Research Team. I hope you are doing well wherever you are now.

As I wrote in my previous blog (, now I will continue to write the peatland management in Indonesia. From my previous post, I wrote about the general condition of peatland and what 3R is to manage peatland in Indonesia. 3R is Rewetting, Revegetation, and Revitalisation. In this post, I will write about land-use change in the peatland sector.

As you know, managing the peatland and prevent peat fire and land-use change in peatland will contribute a lot to reduce emission as peatland can save carbon and as carbon sinks. This is because Peatland has a high conservation value (HCV) and high carbon stock (HCS). Peatlands account for only 3% of the world's land area, but their ability to absorb carbon is enormous. Peatlands store 550 gigatons of carbon or the equivalent of 30% of the carbon stored in the world's soil. If we compare in Indonesia, peatlands hold 57 gigatons or 20 times more than ordinary tropical rain forests or mineral soils (Pantau Gambut, 2018).

So, if you remember, there was a huge peat fire in 2015. Peat stores large carbon stocks so that when peatlands are drained or undergo conversion or fired, the carbon stored in peat is released into the air. WRI's analysis shows that draining one hectare of peatland in the tropics emits an average of 55 metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of burning more than 6,000 gallons of gasoline (WRI, 2021).

Peat fire in Indonesia

So, if we talk about negative emission solution, in terms of contribution, the emission reduction from peatland solely is close to achieving the specified target of emission reduction in Indonesia. Therefore, the seriousness of peatland management should be sufficient based on the estimation. So, if you know from the news that there are peat fire, the problems are the emission and smoke and more than that. The peat fire will be difficult to be handled since there is a wet part. The fire will stay in the wet part like charcoal.

Then, regarding the land-use change, there are some issues in the peatland sector. Historically in the 1980s, peatland was massively converted for agricultural land. This was attribute to the transmigration programme that mass-transfer people from Java island to less-populated islands. Many of these transmigrants were farmers and demanded vast agricultural land for their livings. In the 1980s, a policy that regulated the conversion of primary forest (non-peatland) to HTI-Industrial Plantation Forest was issued. However, in the 1990s, due to mineral land being scarce, a new scheme was issued that allowed peatland conversion to HTI. Since 2010, the competition between HTI expansion with peatland conservation was no longer happening due to the low demand for HTI commodities, e.g. timber. The timber market entered stagnancy due to the increased use of artificial woods (wood composites), reducing demands for land (Wardhana, 2021).

In addition, current and future land-use competition did not exist since 2018 due to the revision of the 2011 Forest Moratorium Law. That regulation previously only halted the issuance of new permits of primary forest and peatland conversion to the complete termination of new permit issuance. New Regulation is on Termination of New Permit Issuance and Amendment of Primary Forest and Peatland Management, a revision of its preceding policies – on Halting of New Permit Issuance and Amendment of Primary Forest and Peatland Management (Ditjen PPI KLHK, 2021). So, if this regulation is followed by all actors, the deforestation of the peatland sector will be decreased a lot.

I think I will stop here. I will continue to discuss peatland management by the communities.

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