Jakarta Post

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
Video Weather icon 30°C
DKI Jakarta, Indonesia
30°C Partly Cloudy

Dry and mostly cloudy throughout the day.

  • Wed

    26℃ - 32℃

  • Thu

    25℃ - 32℃

  • Fri

    25℃ - 31℃

  • Sat

    26℃ - 30℃

More protection needed for peatland

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Thu, June 5, 2014 | 06:21 am

Environmental activists have warned the government to be cautious about converting peatland into crude palm oil (CPO) plantations, as it could have a detrimental long-term impact.

Nyoman N. Suryadiputra of the Wetlands International Indonesia program said that peatland was often thousands of years old, waterlogged and inflammable in its natural setting.

He said the water volume in peatland was very high, reaching 90 percent of its total area. For this reason, the development of a plantation required that the peatland be drained, which could be destructive.

Nyoman said that building canals on peatland for water management would dry out the peat and cause it to become flammable. He pointed out that Indonesia had 21 million hectares of peatland absorbing 1,600 tons of carbon per hectare, and argued that peatland was an entire ecosystem that helped to support human life.

The government has regulated that peatland more than 3 meters deep should be left alone, stipulating that only shallow peatland (0.5 to 1 meters deep) and medium-depth peatland (1 to 2 meters) could be exploited for agricultural purposes.

Nyoman said that recurring peatland fires along the eastern coast of Sumatra had caused land subsidence and incursions of seawater.

'€œPeatland in coastal areas is now similar to coastal lagoons,'€ Nyoman said during a conference in Jakarta on Tuesday on the agricultural sustainability of peatland.

'€œIt took 5,000 to 6,000 years to create the peatland along the eastern coast of Sumatra,'€ Nyoman added.