Peatland Ecosystem Restoration : Preserving Carbon Dome

A session by Peatland Restoration Agency

Date : Friday, 11 November 2016
Time : 14.40 – 16.00 GMT
Venue : Indonesia Pavilion at COP22, Marrakech, Morocco

 

On December 1st 2015, President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo announced his plan to establish Peatland Restoration Agency to tackle the devastating issue peatland fires. The agency is instituted earlier this year to restore 2 million hectares of peatland in 7 provinces (Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and Papua by 2020.

In the last eight months, despite of the limitations, the Agency has initiated a lot of concrete steps to minimize the fire from peatland, such as building rewetting infrastructures, trainings for local communities and inspections to burning concession areas. Parallel to that, the action planning process is also one of the key task the BRG need to attain at the earliest time possible. The BRG has designated its restoration target for the next five years. The total area is 2.1 million hectares.

Around 1.4 million hectares (67%) out of the total restoration target is situated within concession areas, laying on cultivation or protection areas. The government of Indonesia agrees that concessionaries are liable for peatland restoration within and surrounding their respective concessions. The private sectors holds a very significant role in peatland restoration

UNFCCC COP is a very positive arena for BRG because all participants are moving towards the same goal which is holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degree celcius and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree celcius above the pre-industrial level by reducing its GHG emissions. Indonesia has submitted INDCs last year and is committed to reducing 29% emissions by 2030 and 41% with the international support. The carbon benefit from peatland restoration is 123 Million Ton CO2 equivalent. It is 20% of the total emission from land use sector all across Indonesia.

BRG believes that non state actors, especially private sector would also take the same steps to restoring peatland. Drainage dependent land project is no longer feasible to be profitable in the near future. Peatland is not for oil palm and acacia because for those to grow, man-made drainage canal is used to change the very characteristic of land which is wet. Therefore, private sectors have to gradually swift their business model into wet peat friendly commodities.

Paludiculture is one of the technique to restore and cultivate peatland area. The implementation of the technique requires the development of “wet-peat friendly” plants which are adaptive to acidic and swampy characteristics of peatland. The local plants, such as sago, coconut, and pineapple are essential in actualizing the paludiculture to restore peatland as well as bring about more prosperity to the local communities. Those plants relates to downstream industries which aims for the added value the raw materilies. This wet peat friendly plants has a huge economic potential.

BRG encourages more inventions of user friendly technology for peatland restoration. We have found that most of the sophisticated and expensive technologies are in fact ineffective to prevent or shut down the fire on peatland. Local communities’ awareness and participation is the key instead. Thus, the technology provided has to be handy.

BRG has listed 2,495 villages in and surrounding the areas of peatland restoration target. BRG proposes transformation and responsible business models that respect the human rights and people empowerment. This must go in parallel with the development of private sector transparency framework. This framework is necessary to make sure those companies are consistent to their commitments instead of using for green washing their way ahead.

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