Indonesia: Govt to Issue Peatlands Restoration Guidelines

Edo Karensa Jakarta Globe 10 May 16;

Jakarta. The government has prepared guidelines to boost peatlands restoration programs after disastrous forest and land fires affected some provinces last year, an official said on Tuesday (10/05).

The newly-established Peatlands Restoration Agency, or BRG, has gone further by preparing the roadmap and guidelines for peatlands management and restoration programs which will be coordinated with authorities and stakeholders in affected areas.

Budi Satria Wardhana, planning and cooperation deputy director at the BRG, said the roadmap and guidelines will be issued next June to help local administrations and firms review peatlands management.

“We will issue the guidelines on canal blocking programs, its development strategies, peatlands restoration and consideration of social economy aspects for local residents,” Budi said at the sidelines of Peatland Paludiculture workshop in Jakarta on Tuesday (10/05).

The provincial-level Peatlands Restoration Agency will use the guidelines to take suitable steps and efforts according to its peatlands condition, Budi said.

However, he noted that only four of seven provinces have formed provincial-level peatlands restoration agencies although the central government has pushed the efforts since last January. They are South Sumatra, Riau, Jambi and Central Kalimantan.

BRG targeted three other provinces — West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua — to establish its own provincial agencies on peatlands restoration by the end of this year, Budi said.

Paludiculture practices

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, suggested the government consider the use of wet peatlands ecosystem practices, dubbed paludiculture, as an alternatives for sustainable practice.

“While maintaining peatland ecosystem services, people practicing paludiculture also produce traditional agricultural commodities such as food, feed, fibre and fuel, while also generating the other raw materials,” said Mark Smulders, FAO representative in Indonesia.

He added that further research and piloting project is required to identify appropriate paludiculture options for the country, adding a monitoring system on the long term impacts of selected species and practices, both on food security and climate change.

BRG plans to include paludiculture system in the guidelines of peatlands restoration programs, but the implementation will depend on the analysis and situation of each regions' peatlands, Budi said.