Peatland Restoration Agency Restore Nearly One Million Hectares of Peats in Three Years

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peatland restoration agency
Ilustration. Photo: wikimedia commons

Jakarta (Greeners) – Peatland Restoration Agency had restored 922,161 hectares of peats, — 679,901 hectares outside of concession areas and 242,260 hectares inside of concessions areas –, for the past three years.

The agency is targeted to restore 2.6 million hectares of peats by 2020.

Under presidential regulation issued in 2016, the agency is stipulated to coordinate and facilitate peat restoration in seven provinces, — Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan and Papua –.

The regulation also states the agency is required to set up peat ecosystem restoration plan and implementation for five years covering more less 2 million hectares of peatlands.

In 2018, the peat restoration areas, which previously covered a total of 2,492,510 hectares, had been added to a total of 2,676,601 hectares in seven provinces.

The areas comprise of 491,791 hectares of protected areas, 400,457 hectares of cultivation areas without permits, and 1,784,353 hectares of areas with permits.

Myrna A. Safitri, director of education, socialization, participation and partnerships at the agency, said that the target will be completed by 2020.

“In 2018, there’s new additional of lands we need to restore, from 2.4 million hectares to 2.6 million hectares due to updates from forest fires. Up to date, this already half of the way from areas we need to restore, however the agency is confident that restoration outside of concession areas will be done by 2020 because it’s already on the track,” said Safitri in Jakarta on Wednesday (08/05/2019). “Even for provinces like Jambi, South Sumatra, South Kalimantan and Papua, the restoration process is nearly 100 percent, which left with West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, and Riau.”

READ ALSO: Forest and Land Fires Hit 1200 Hectares of Riau Province by February 

Furthermore, she said that from the target for concession areas with permits, only 242,260 hectares are being restored from the total of 1,784,353 hectares.

Hence, Peatland Restoration Agency is supervising by technical assistance to permit holders or companies to restore peats, which is their responsibility.

“For concession areas, it is slow progress because it’s indirect task of the agency as that is the permit holders’ responsibility. Hence, we will supervise or give technical assistance which successfully restore 127,350 hectares of plantation areas and 114,910 hectares of forest areas. The supervision is going on in Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and South Kalimantan,” she said.

Furthermore, she said that the supervision, which runs since 2018, is an assistance for permit holders to construct, operate, and maintain infrastructure in concession areas. The supervision is necessary as permit holders don’t understand peatlands in details.

“This supervision has its obstacle, the lack of experts in hydrology or peats. There are lots of companies request to be supervised and competent experts are very few so it’s not managed properly. That is why we also train experts in regions so they will not depend too much on our experts,” she said.

READ ALSO: Activists Found Illegal Activities in Protected Peats of Central Kalimantan 

Other effort for peat restoration is developing peatlands re-wetting infrastructure. Up to 2018, there are 11,800 units of drill wells, 5,396 units of canal blocking and 242 units of canal hoarding finance by the state budget and other financial sources.

Infrastructure to rewetting peats are more implemented through cooperation with local groups, universities, and third parties.

Reports by Dewi Purningsih

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