Indonesia: Environment ministry to establish peat land restoration agency

Antara 12 Jan 16;

Palembang (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry will establish a Peatland Restoration Agency for land conservation and fire prevention.

Secretary General of the Ministry Bambang Handroyono said here on Tuesday that a similar agency will also be established at the provincial level.

"At the national level, the restoration agency will be coordinated by the ministry of environment and forestry, while at the local level it will be under the coordination of the governor," he said.

According to him, the agency is being set up following a presidential regulation in this regard.

Establishment of such an agency to deal with peat land conservation issue is important, considering how difficult could it be to extinguish any potential fire in the peat land.

The agency is expected to optimize the peat land management and maintain the areas, Bambang said.

Indonesias peat land area is estimated at 20.6 million hectares, or about 10.8 percent of Indonesias total land area. Of this, approximately 7.2 million hectare, or 35 percent, is located in Sumatra island.

Peat land serves to preserve water resources, mitigate flooding, prevent sea water intrusion, support biodiversity, and control the climate through carbon absorption and storage.

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