Peatlands are a source of life for plants, animals and people. They also play a critical role in carbon storage, a new frontier in global efforts to mitigate climate change. However, these valuable ecosystems are now under threat as ever greater areas are drained, cleared and burned for agriculture and other purposes. Urgent action is needed to halt degradation of peatlands, and promote their restoration.
A special edition of the Global Landscapes Forum, with a focus on peatlands, will be hosted on 18 May 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The event will bring together a range of stakeholders involved in the use and management of peatlands, from government officials to private sector representatives, community members, researchers and civil society.Read more
What are peatlands?
Peatlands are found all over the world, come in many forms, display many different characteristics and are used in many different ways. They support lives and livelihoods, and are home to many of the world’s threatened species, such as orangutans, rhinoceroses and leopards. Peatlands are formed when teeming plant growth outpaces the rate of decay due to an abundance of water, leaving behind layers of rich, organic matter known as peat. This makes them highly efficient carbon sinks, and a key consideration in efforts to mitigate climate change. Despite all this, they remain some of the least understood and monitored ecosystems in the world.
Incorporating 40 years of maps of Borneo (the world’s third largest island), the tool reveals both the forest remaining and what is being reshaped due to degradation and extraction industries. With the ability to search by oil palm or pulpwood concessions, and view the locations of intact peatland, as well as determine the speed with which forest is converted to plantation, the atlas offers the first significant opportunity to distinguish companies that are avoiding deforestation to a large degree.Read more
Morocco – Nazir Foead is the head of Indonesia’s newly established Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG). The agency was appointed by President Joko Widodo in January 2016, with the task of restoring 2 million hectares of the country’s peatland within five years. Nazir spoke on the sidelines of the Global Landscapes Forum in Marrakesh about the need to take a landscape approach to restoring degraded peatland in Indonesia.Read more
Peat is partially decayed, dead vegetation that has accumulated over thousands of years. Though peatlands are generally saturated with water and difficult to set ablaze, they can become tinderboxes when they are drained to make way for agricultural plantations like pulp and paper and palm oil.Read more
Indonesia – Siti Maimunah deftly steps out of a shallow canoe, stamps though the undergrowth and enters a cleared field, surveying the land. The two-hectare plot of dry and degraded peatland is not much to look at for now, but Siti is already looking ahead to the potential it could hold for renewable energy, land restoration and livelihoods in Central Kalimantan.Read more
Indonesia – The Indonesian government seeks to collect USD 13 billion from its tax amnesty program this year, says the country’s Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati.Read more