Next to Central Kalimantan, our peat work has taken place in Indonesia the areas of Berbak-Sembilang, on the island of Sumatra. Wetlands International worked on finding a sustainable balance between the activities of people and the fragile peatland ecosystem they depend on.
Many of the peatswamp forests in Indonesia have been logged, drained to enable logging or to develop agricultural areas like palm oil plantations. Following large-scale logging, land conversion and burning, these areas have become devoid of trees in the 1980s and 1990s. Some areas have been converted into agricultural land whereas others remain as wastelands suffering from annual wildfires in the dry season which alternate with extensive flooding during the monsoon.
Besides the difficulty of farming in peatland areas, unsustainable land management and resource overexploitation (including rampant logging) has contributed to increased poverty.
Research by Wetlands International and Delft Hydraulics has shown that such drainage leads to enormous CO2 emissions and significantly contributes to climate change.
A short film explains the problem and our solutions.
How our work tackles these problems
The project works on alternative and sustainable livelihoods. Local people are provided with loans to stop logging, protect the remaining forests from illegal logging, end drainage of the peatswamps, reforest the area and to set up alternative businesses like chicken farms.
If these tasks are conducted well, the loans are converted into gifts. This is according to the biorights principle: local people are paid for the services they deliver; services with benefits at a national or even global scale such as biodiversity protection, reducing climate change by ending drainage and fires.
In this way, we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions for minimal costs; approximately one euro for one tonne CO2. This is a win situation for the global community, for local people and for the nature in the peatswamp forests.