FAO in Indonesia

Facts of Indonesia Peatland and Paludiculture Practices


In 2009, the President of Indonesia announced a commitment to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by at least 26 percent from business as usual (BAU) with domestic funding and 41 percent with international funding support by 2020. In the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) submitted in 2015 during COP 21 in Paris, Indonesia increased voluntarily pledge to reduce GHG emissions to 29 percent through its own efforts, and up to 41 percent with international support, against the business as usual scenario by 2030.

Emissions from agriculture and land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF), the latter including a significant component from peat fire and degradation, contributed around two thirds of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Indonesia in 2005.

Tropical peat swamp forests in Indonesia and Malaysia cover about 25 million hectares (an area slightly larger than the United Kingdom) and contain three-quarters of the global tropical peatlands carbon storage. In recent decades, many peatlands were drained for palm oil and pulp wood cultivation, especially in Indonesia and Malaysia. This expansion, especially the development and management of oil palm and pulp wood (Acacia) plantations, has had an impact on social conditions (e.g. land tenure, working conditions, human rights) and the environment (e.g. increased GHG emissions, greater frequency of fires and loss of biodiversity including endangered species).

Large peatland fires, not only contribute significantly to global climate change, but also greatly reduce the air quality, causing health problems and threaten economic development through impacts on transport and a significant decline in agricultural output. They can also spread black carbon over glaciers or permanent snow‐covers on high mountains and accelerate melting. Communities near the fires face the possibility of losing lives, property and livelihoods. The World Bank estimates that 2015 fires in Indonesia burnt 2.6 million ha of land, cost Indonesia 16.1 billion USD and emitted 1 750 million mtCO2.

Indonesia is developing a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action (NAMA under the UNFCCC) for peatlands under its comprehensive ‘National Action Plan for Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions’ (Rencana Nasional Penurunan Emisi Gas Rumah Kaca, RAN‐GRK). However, in order to successfully design a GHG reduction strategy and implement a NAMA, it is necessary to identify responsible peatland management options.

Paludiculture (agriculture and plant cultivation in wet conditions) can be considered a responsible management option for peatland management. Paludiculture produces biomass from wet and rewetted peatlands under conditions that maintain the peat body, sustain ecosystem services and may facilitate carbon accumulation. Besides producing traditional agricultural commodities such as food, feed, fibre and fuel, paludiculture can also generate other raw materials for a variety of purposes, including industrial biochemistry.

Paludiculture can be used to for forestry, agroforestry, crop and feed production, as well as raw material for energy, construction, biochemical products from the 165 species found so far suitable for paludiculture in Indonesia.

In Indonesia there are three areas that could be the example of paludiculture practices such as beje system in Kutai and Banjar Tribes in East Kalimantan, Nut plantations in Segedong West Kalimantan, and Sago farming in Meranti Island district and Riau Province.

Paludiculture can also deliver substantial co‐benefits by preserving and sequestering carbon, supporting climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, regulating water dynamics (flood control) and water quality (purification), and conserving and restoring peatlands’ typical flora and fauna. In order to scale-up paludiculture practice there is a need to share experiences and assess paludiculture’s socio‐economic, environmental and gender aspects.

[ Factsheet was distributed during workshop on peatland palidiculture in Jakarta, May 10- 11]

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