How can we tackle it?
Through the construction of dams, we restore water levels in drained peatlands, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and rehabilitating damaged areas. The same approach is applied to high mountain peatlands, where erosion gullies lower the water table and limit water storage capacity. We always involve local communities in our restoration projects: building dams to block canals or gullies, assisting with revegetation, forming local fire brigades and improving grazing practices.
Examples of our work
Central Kalimantan's peat swamp forests
A completely failed attempt to convert the peat swamps into rice fields had disastrous impacts on the tropical peat swamp forests of Central Kalimantan (Indonesia). Drainage canals lowered the water table and logging cleared the forest.
We restored water levels in the area by building small dams and blocks which prevented the further oxidation of peat soils. Moreover, the area was reforested with native tree species and community fire brigades were established to address the huge problem of peat fires. Read more on the Central Kalimantan Peatlands Project (CKPP).
Peatland conservation in the Berbak-Sembilang National Park, Indonesia
In the Berbak-Sembilang national park in Sumatera, Indonesia we worked with the communities on finding a sustainable balance between the activities of people and the fragile peatland ecosystem they depend on. The area is a vulnerable area of tropical peatland forests and is threatened by logging and unsustainable agriculture. Read more
Restoring peatlands in Russia
Many peatlands in Russia were drained for agriculture, forestry and peat mining in the past and then left abandoned. Now they are subject to wind and water erosion, major fires and cause large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Given the significant economic, environmental and social impact of these degraded peatlands, Wetlands International has recently started the restoration of Russia's degraded peatlands. Read more
China’s Ruoergai marshes
The Ruoergai marshes regulate and store runoff from glaciers in the Himalayas that flows towards China’s lowlands. Our China team helped to designate this peatland as a Ramsar site, obligating the Chinese government to protect the area.
Furthermore, peat mining and drainage are no longer allowed in Ruoergai and the neighbouring counties due to our work with the local Chinese authorities in assessing the impacts of different management options. This was also resulted in improved water supplies to the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. Read more
Turberas of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Tierra del Fuego, Argentina is also a Ramsar site. Our Latin America team contributed to this designation by raising awareness regarding sustainable peatlands practices, from the local to the national level. Read more (Spanish)