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On-field activities to restore over 800 thousand hectares of peatland

 

Photo credit: Antaranews

Photo document of the former transmigrant on peatlands that have been burned while monitoring hotspots reappear in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan, on Sunday (1 November 2015). (ANTARA/Saptono)

Agency to restore over 800 thousand hectares of peatland areas

Pewarta: Fardah

Two months after its establishment, the Indonesia Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) has claimed that it is now initiating on-field activities to restore over 800 thousand hectares (ha) of peatland areas spread across four districts.

“The (restoration) cost is estimated to reach Rp12 million per ha for five years,” BRG Head Nazir Foead informed the press here, Thursday.

The World Bank and the Center for International Forestry Research had estimated the restoration cost to reach between Rp6 million to Rp36 million per ha, he remarked.

Foead explained that the agency had completed the mapping of the peatland areas in the districts of Meranti Islands in Riau; Ogan Komering Ilir and Musi Banyuasin in South Sumatra; and Pulang Pisau in Central Kalimantan, which need restoration work.

Of the 834,491 ha areas, 77 percent lie within cultivation areas while 23 percent are located in protected areas.

During the last two months, the agency had been busy recruiting personnel and outlining ravaged peatland areas that should be prioritized for restoration and identifying 100 villages whose peatland areas need to be developed further, he explained.

The identification process was carried out in cooperation with the environmental affairs and forestry ministry, the National Development Planning Board (Bappenas), the Information and Geospatial Agency, and NGOs.

Moreover, the agency also continues to work on formulating standard operational guidelines and procedures for preparing infrastructure to provide water to restore and maintain peatlands and nurseries; to conduct replanting activities; and to install borewells.

The locations for conducting the restoration work have been identified and decided based on four criteria: peatland, condition of soil cover, the presence of canals and their impacts, and the history of forest fires over the past five years, according to BRG deputy in charge of planning and cooperation Budi Wardhana.

More detailed mapping of those locations is currently being carried out.

Read the full article: Antaranews

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.