The global extent of tropical peatlands and peat swamp forests is relatively small, yet these ecosystems play an important role in the global carbon (C) cycle. Peatlands cover only 3% of earth’s land surface, however, peatland can store twice as much C as all the world’s forests. Peatlands also provide numerous ecosystem services ranging from regulating (climate, flood, and pollution abatement), provisioning (food, fibre, water, genetic resources), supporting (biodiversity, primary production, nutrient cycling), and socio-cultural (cultural use, recreation, education).
Despite their importance, peatlands have been degraded, drained and burned, mainly for agricultural and forestry purposes. Peatland degradation contributes ~ 2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide per year to the atmosphere. Indonesia has pledged to restore over 2 Mha of degraded peatlands as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the United Nations Paris Agreement on climate change.
Restoration of degraded peatlands could be an important step to stall further loss. Restoration of peatlands entails deliberate actions that initiates or accelerates the recovery of a degraded peatland to a better state. As any ecosystem restoration, peatland restoration needs to be underpinned by assessment and monitoring efforts that allow for approaches towards peatland restoration.
One approach for monitoring peatlands and assessment of restoration success involves use of principles, criteria and indicators (P, C & I) that are easy to recognize, measure and monitor over time and are also locally relevant. The selected C and I should have a balanced approach covering all four aspects: (1) Biophysical, (2) Social, (3) Economic, and (4) Governance.
CIFOR in collaboration with the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) have laid out a plan to explore the P, C and I approach for tropical peatland restoration. The webinar series is organized in collaboration with partners, including the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Global Peatland Initiative (GPI). Continuous support by partners, such as USAID, NICFI, and UNEP have made this endeavour possible.
The previous three webinars were conducted to explore C & I on biophysical, governance, and socio-economic aspects. The last webinar is planned to facilitate interactive discussions and present a synthesis of new insights and information exchanged during past webinars.