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The economic value of peatland resources within the Central Kalimantan Peatland Project in Indonesia

Peatland degradation, deforestation and fires cause these areas to contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. International investors and development agencies recognise the potential cost efficiency of avoided further carbon emissions at relatively low costs. Such measures, however, cannot be effective without the full support of local communities.


Description:

Peatland degradation, deforestation and fires cause these areas to contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. International investors and development agencies recognise the potential cost efficiency of avoided further carbon emissions at relatively low costs. Such measures, however, cannot be effective without the full support of local  communities.

Peatlands are the most efficient terrestrial ecosystems in storing carbon on earth. Approximately 50% of worlds’ total tropical peatlands are located in Central Kalimantan. Peatland degradation, deforestation and fires cause these areas to contribute significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. International investors and development agencies recognise the potential cost efficiency of avoided further carbon emissions at relatively low costs. Such measures, however, cannot be effective without the full support of local communities.

The objective of the study is to estimate the socio-economic value of peatland resources in Central Kalimantan from the perspective of local communities. Several issues were studied such as the socio-economic situation of communities living in degraded peatlands, the attitudes on peatland conservation and restoration measures, and the compensation needed by local farmers to contribute to peatland restoration.

The study concluded that many local farmers find it difficult to make a living from the infertile peatlands, which are not very suitable for agriculture. They are therefore willing to switch to more sustainable practices such as reforesting part of their land, but only under the condition that their income levels do not decline.

Furthermore, the study makes a number of recommendations for peatland conservation measures to be effective, such as the need to create more awareness among local communities about the benefits of conservation, the need to create a system of secure tenure rights and reduce the risk of food and income shortages, as well as the opportunities for setting up compensation schemes in return for collaboration of the local farmers. NGOs proved to play a crucial role at present, although further coordination of their activities is required.

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