Indonesian peatlands, including peat swamp forests, comprise 36% of the world’s tropical peatlands. Indonesia has one of the largest extents of tropical peatlands globally, and these peatlands provide numerous ecosystem services including their ability to slowly sequester and store carbon. Despite their important benefits, Indonesian peatlands have faced deforestation and drainage since the 1980s, mainly for forestry and agriculture purposes.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by peatland degradation and fires, place Indonesia among the top five emitter countries. In its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, Indonesia has committed to restoring more than 2 Mha of degraded peatland area to prevent GHG emissions. However, peatland restoration needs to be underpinned by monitoring efforts that allow an adaptive approach. Peatland monitoring, guided by science-based practice, can enhance the transparency and accountability of the reporting process, and hopefully ascertain higher degree of success in those efforts.
One approach for monitoring peatlands and its restoration involves use of criteria and indicators (C and I) that are easy to recognize, measure and monitor over time and are also locally relevant. Identified C and I should cover four aspects: (1) biophysical, (2) social, (3) economic, and (4) governance. This allows restoration targets to be adequately quantified, and the success measured.