The success of the Indonesian government in dealing with peatlands over the past two years has drawn attention of many countries in the world.
Indonesia is getting attention for being considered to have made an ‘unusual leap’ and achievements in peat governance, amidst the increasingly challenging threats to climate change.
One indicator is that if Indonesia has been routinely experiencing forest and land fires for decades, which mostly occur in peatlands, for 2016 and 2017, similar disasters can be addressed properly.
“We prove that Indonesia is not a lagging state [in peat governance]. Many references are taken from this conference. From Indonesia, the world learns about peatland governance,” said Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya at the 23rd Conference of Party (COP 23 UNFCCC) in Bonn, Germany, as quoted from the website of the Environment Ministry, Friday (11/17/2017).
Various efforts and government policies managed to reduce the number of hotspots significantly. Based on NOAA satellite data as of November 17, 2017, the number of hotspots was reduced from 21,929 (2015) to 3,915 or 82 percent in 2016. While in 2017, the hotspots were 2,546 or decreased by 91 percent from 2015 to 2017.
The same indication can also be seen from the monitoring of the TERRA NASA satellite. The hotspots were reduced to 95 percent from 2015 (70,971 hotspots) to 2016 (3,844 hotspots). Whereas in 2017 compared to 2015, it was reduced to 98 percent (2,326 hotspots).
Another indicator is the area of burning, from 2.6 million hectares (ha) in 2015 down to 128 thousand ha in 2017. This means that the area of forest and land fires is reduced by 95 percent.
Minister Siti Nurbaya revealed in an area of 2.6 million hectares burned in 2015, there are about 900 thousand ha of peatland forest. In 2016, there was a drastic decline of burning peatlands, to only about 67 thousand ha or decreased by 93 percent. Until November 17, 2017, peatland in Indonesia is burned only about 10 thousand hectares or has been reduced to 99 percent compared to 2015.
With these efforts, Indonesia has been able to successfully avoid the forest and land fires and smoke debris in 2016 and 2017, after previously taking place for decades.
“The restoration agenda in Indonesia is driven by science and because this is the biggest global effort to restore tropical peat, it will generate new insights and paradigms in tropical peatland management,” said Minister Siti.