Straight to content

Flooding of lowland peatlands in Southeast Asia

Published on:
  • Peatland conservation and restoration
  • Sustainable land use

This factsheet explains why urgent action is needed to avoid catastrophic regular flooding of vast peatland areas in Southeast Asia. The drainage of peatlands for agriculture or forestry (in particular oil palm and pulp wood plantations) is unsustainable in the long term, leading to soil subsidence as large CO2 emissions. Radical changes in land-use are needed to secure the livelihoods of future generations.

Vast lowland areas of Southeast Asia will be frequently and irreversibly flooded before the end of the century unless action is taken to stop the destruction of peatlands.

A radical change in land-use is needed. In particular the palm oil and pulp wood sectors must stop developing new plantations on peat and plan to phase-out existing drainage-based plantations before they are flooded. If no action is taken, productivity will be lost in extensive peatland areas in Indonesia and Malaysia with severe socio-economic consequences.

Flooding of lowland peatlands in Southeast Asia