Wetlands International welcomes the bilateral agreement between the Dutch government and Indonesia to restore Indonesia’s the degraded peatlands, with the aim of reducing CO2 emissions. Wetlands International has been the leading organisation in advocating and piloting peatland restoration in Indonesia as one of the most effective means for climate change mitigation.
In Indonesia degradation of peat swamp forests contribute over half of the countries' CO2 emissions. One of the drivers of peatland degradation is the rapid expansion of oil palm and pulpwood (for paper) plantations on peat. These require drainage and often go hand-in-hand with peat fires which in some years have impacted millions of hectares.
Peatland conversion into plantations also leads to high biodiversity loss. Peat swamp forests represent some of the last remaining lowland tropical rainforests that support critical Orangutan and tiger populations as well as many other endangered species.
Key for successful peatland management is the empowerment of local communities; without them restoration activities can not be achieved. Poverty reduction should thus be an essential part of any intervention aimed at peatland conservation and restoration.
The international carbon trade provides a potential new source of income if local people are supported and employed to protect peatlands and prevent fires. It is therefore our hope that under this bilateral agreement the appropriate and long-term socio-economic approaches will be supported. NGOs, like Wetlands International, have a key role in working with local communities.
Read the article in De Volkskrant (Dutch)
Read the press release by the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands (Dutch)
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