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Jakarta Post

Land swaps hoped to speed up peatland restoration

Land swaps hoped to speed up peatland restoration
Anton Hermansyah
  ●   Tue, March 8, 2016

Officers tackle forest fires in a concession area in Tulung Selapan, Ogan Komering Ilir, South Sumatra, on Oct. 28, 2015. Millions of hectares of forest and peatland in Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua have caught fire during the prolonged drought.(JP/Jerry Adiguna )

The Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) plans to offer asset swaps to local communities using peatland for plantation purposes in an effort to restore two million hectares of peatland in five years.

BRG secretary Hartono Prawiratmadja said peatland owners would be presented with three options to free their land from plantation activities. The three options were compensation, relocation and commodity adjustment.

"If they agree with compensation, the BRG will simply talk to the land concession owner and pay. Relocation is provided to deal with community-owned plantations from which people make a living, which will be swapped for sites where plantation is permitted," he said on Tuesday in Jakarta.

Meanwhile, commodity adjustment pertains to switching from the existing plants to more suitable crops for peatland cultivation, such as sago. "Sago is productive and can recover the quality of the peatland'€™s water, but not all sites are suitable for sago," Hartono said.

The relocation through asset swap, he continued, was based on spatial administration regulations. Regarding customary land, which is owned by indigenous communities, the agency would use customary land rules.

"The rule [for customary land] was already prepared by the Forestry and Environmental Ministry last year," Myrna A. Safitri, deputy for education, participation and partnership at the BRG, told

The agency aims to restore 2 million hectares of exploited peatlands nationwide, with some 600,000 ha to be restored this year. Another 1,200,000 ha will be restored from 2017 to 2019, leaving the last 200,000 ha to be restored in 2020. (ags)(+)