“Peatlands must be wet: for the climate, for the people, and for the future.”
Peatlands are slowly being recognized for their capacity to store large amounts of carbon. Although they cover less than 3 percent of the global land surface, they contain twice as much carbon as that in the world’s forests. The main problem that needs to be addressed is the fact that people still have no idea about where peatlands are located and how to deal with them. The characteristics of peatlands are quite different from any other type of soils since it has been accumulated under water-logged conditions for extremely long time periods and that is the reason why we have to always keep it in a wet condition.
Dr. Siti Nurbaya, Minister of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia, explained that Indonesia will prioritize peatlands even more since the peatlands fire crisis in 2015 that had a severe effect on global climate change. Under the Paris Agreement, while also implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and securing lives and livelihoods, Indonesia has set an unconditional reduction target of 29% from the land based sector – specifically 17% from peatlands in their first Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
It is not going to be easy since it is much cheaper to conserve than to restore peatlands, but working alongside Peru and the Republic of Congo under The Global Peatlands Initiative, Indonesia is committed to reach the goal of maintaining utilization of peatlands while strengthening local community livelihood.
Asatika Ligar Hardianti is currently pursuing a Bachelor degree, majoring on Forest Management at Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia. She is excited to travel to Europe for the first time for COP23 in Bonn, assisted by the IFSA Development Fund, and to develop her interest in forest policy.