Workshop on Peatland and Climate Change

M.R. Karliasyah
Director General for Pollution Control and Environmental Degradation
Ministry of Environment and Forestry – Republic of Indonesia

27 November 2018

Assalamualaikum Wr. Wb.

His Excellency Ambassador of Republic of Korea; 

The honorable Dr. Hadi Pasaribu, Director of Forest for Life and All Member of Forest for Life;

The honorable Invited Experts and Researchers;

And all participants;

Good morning and welcome to Jakarta to join The Workshop on Peatland and Climate Change.

Firstly, I would like to express my appreciation to the organizer – all member team of Forest for Life – under the supervision of the Embassy of Republic of Korea and all invited experts and participants to make this workshop conducted in Jakarta today.

The purpose of this workshop is to share technologies, good practices, and views among participants on sustainable management of peat land potential for reducing the GHG emissions.

I am honored to address the Corrective Action on Peatland Management in Indonesia as keynote for this workshop. With population exceeding 260 million as data from the Central Statistics Agency, 2018, Indonesia is the home of tropical peatland with total area about 15 million hectares. The Indonesian peatland is distributed along the west coast of Aceh to east coast of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West to South Kalimantan, and Papua. It is a home for huge diversity of ecosystem, flora, fauna, and also a storage 46 giga tons of carbon peat or about 8-14 percent of the carbon contained in peat world.  It is, indeed, valuable for Indonesia and all of us here as forestry resources, flood control and water supply, fire risk control, ecotourism, the livelihoods of focal communities, biodiversity, education, research, and  climate stability.

Peatland is containing three components which are peat, vegetation and most of all are water. Human activities on peatlands, such as cutting down the vegetation, drainage construction, and shifting the land-cover, result disturbances of peat ecosystem. In consequence, water table decrease and organic materials are dried, causing peat land burning, subsidence, and flooding. Fires in Indonesia in 2015 were the largest fire with total burnt area of 2.6 Million hectares (Ministry of Environment and Forestry, 2015). Global Fire Emission Database showed Green House Gas emission from fire in 2015 was 1.8 Tt CO2e. It was a huge disaster with economic lost about USD 16 Million (World Bank 2016).

The milestone of Peatland Ecosystem Conservation and Management in Indonesia is started with the enactment of the Presidential Decree No. 20 of 1990 on Management of Protected Area and determined that Peat land with 3 meter depth as protected area. Government of Indonesia has also enacted Act No. 24 of 1992 on Spatial Planning.  Learning from the forest fire disaster experience in 2015, Government of Indonesia realized that peatland and ecosystem governance, indeed, still focused on peatland utilization and zonation management.  The enactment of the Government Regulation No. 71 of 2014 jo.  Government Regulation No. 57 of 2016 on Protection and Management of Peatland Ecosystem, gives the power of Government of Indonesia to protect and manage Indonesian peatland ecosystem with Hydrological Peatland Units approach and establish the peatland function into conservation and cultivation functions. The Government Regulations give obligation for fulfilment of 0,4 meters water table height to maintain peatland area wet. Government of Indonesia also has established several Ministerial Decrees for operational implementation in field, among others:

  1. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decree No. P.14 of 2017 on Procedures for Inventory & Determination of Peat Ecosystem Functions;
  2. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decree No. P.15 of 2017 on Procedure of Water Table Measurement at Peat Ecosystems Compliance Point;
  3. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decree No. P.16 of 2017 on Technical Guidelines for Restoration of Peat Ecosystem Functions;
  4. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decree No. P.17 of 2017 as reviewed for P.12 of 2015 related Development of Industrial Plantation Forest
  5. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation No. 129 of 2017 on Determination of Peat Hydrological Unity Map;
  6. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation No.130 of 2017 on Determination Function of Peat Ecosystem Map.

Regarding to those regulations, one of given mandate to concession holders is conducting peatland ecosystem restoration. Currently, Plantation Concession Holders (HGU) and Industrial Forest demonstrate compliance as required by The Ministry of Environment and Forestry Decree No. P.16 of 2017 on Technical Guidelines for Restoration of Peat Ecosystem Functions, including:

  1. Determination of Water Table Compliance Point (Manual and Automatic/Data Logger);
  2. Determination of Rainfall Monitoring Station;
  3. Construction of Canal Blocking (with or without spillway);
  4. Construction of Water Gate and Reservoir;
  5. Rehabilitation through replanting with endemic plant species (indigenous species);
  6. Natural succession.

Furthermore, President of Indonesia, Bapak. Joko Widodo, gives very clear direction to protect and manage the peatland and prevent the forest – peatland – fire. Until today, 112 of 229 plantation concession holders in 93 Peatland Hydrological Unit and 66 of 105 industrial forest concession holders implement those requirements with impact of peatland restoration area at about 2.589 million hectares. The restoration activities are conducted by development of rewetting infrastructures, including development of 8,514 units of Water Table Compliance Point, 928 data loggers for real time water table monitoring, 560 units of Rainfall Monitoring Station, and constructs 16,546 units of Canal Blocking (with or without spillway) and 7,725 units will be constructed until 2026 .  

In implementing the peatland protection management in community areas, Government of Indonesia has also developed some community based programs to empower community to actively participate and improve community livelihood in line with the implementation of sustainable peatland management. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Government of Indonesia has worked together with 7 universities and 8 provinces established 121 facilitators to assist the communities in implementing restoration and sustainable peatland management in their area. The impact of this programs implementation is restoring peatland at about 7,305 hectares. 

The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has also developed database to maintain the achievement of peatland protection and management in Indonesia. The above achievement also successfully  reduce the number of hotspots and the area burnt during the last three years and led to the reduction of emissions from forests and lands including from peatlands. Emissions from peat fires in 2017 was about 12,5 million tons CO2e or only 1.56% of emissions from peat fires in 2015 that reached 803 million tons CO2e. This is a big achievement that need to be maintained and institutionalized at all level of governments, from central to provincial and district until village governments.

In providing data and information to knowledge and experience exchange, we also has launched the GIS Portal Website on pgkppkl,menlhk,go.id. This website provide not only data for what have been achieved so far but also regulation, guidance, and tutorials in updated version.

The achievement above has been recognized by other countries, among others the Republic of Congo, Republic of Democratic of Congo, Peru, and Southeast Asian Countries. In the last of Octobers, the Minister of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Representative of Republic of Congo have come to Indonesia to get some lesson learn from peatland protection and management in Indonesia. Together with UNEP and the representative of the 2 Congo Countries, the Ministry and Environment and Forestry has launched International Peatland Center on 30 October 2018 in Jakarta.

Therefore, we realize, in term of optimizing the peatland protection management contribution on Climate Change emission reduction, it is indeed necessary to be discussed more. We do really hope that a half-day workshop on ‘Peatland and Climate Change” will discuss and find potential solution for managing the peatland in sustainable ways and contribute to climate change mitigation. 

Thank you and enjoy the workshop.

Wassalamualaikum Wr. Wb.

Director General for Pollution Control and Environmental Deterioration,

M.R. Karliansyah

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