Impact through policies and partnerships

D. Murdiyarso (CIFOR)
Outcomes & Impacts

Indonesia estimates greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands

Southeast Asia
Low Emissions Development

Peatlands contain large stores of carbon which have built up over thousands of years. Peat soils in tropical regions contain about 3% of the world’s soil carbon, so they are an important source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Due to timber production and agricultural expansion, about 25% of forest degradation and deforestation in Southeast Asia is happening on peatlands.

Indonesia estimates greenhouse gas emissions from peatlands

Accurate assessment of greenhouse gas emissions from Indonesian peatlands will help reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. S. Sasmito (CIFOR)

Supported by CCAFS research from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), in 2014 the Indonesian government submitted baseline figures for GHG emissions from peatlands as part of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) scheme.

REDD+ offers incentives to developing countries to reduce their GHG emissions from forests and invest in low-carbon sustainable development. Governments compile GHG inventories that assess both the emission and removal of greenhouse gases. From 2020 they will be expected to do this every 2 years. Until recently, reliable information about GHG emissions from peatlands has been scarce. To remedy this, in 2014 the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) instructed governments to improve their emissions reporting for wetlands, including peatlands, issuing guidelines based on CIFOR-CCAFS research.

Indonesia emits very high volumes of carbon dioxide from peatlands, driven by logging and draining. Like many other tropical countries, Indonesia is committed to reducing GHG emissions, but to do this it needs reliable and sophisticated GHG accounting for its wetlands, as well as other types of land use. Along with several other countries, Indonesia received scientific assistance from CIFOR aimed at helping them to prepare baseline emission figures for wetlands. These reference emission levels (RELs) have been submitted to UNFCCC; for the first time, they enable changes in GHGs from Indonesia’s wetlands to be assessed with accuracy. CIFOR collaborated with the Forestry Research and Development Agency, the Ministry of Forestry and the Indonesian Soils Research Institute to develop the RELs.

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