Advertisement

Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 729–737 | Cite as

Peatland degradation and conversion sequences and interrelations in Sumatra

  • Jukka Miettinen
  • Aljosja Hooijer
  • Jianjun Wang
  • Chenghua Shi
  • Soo Chin Liew
Original Article

Abstract

In this study, we used over 50 high-resolution satellite images to analyse sequences and interrelations in the progression of peatland degradation and conversion processes in Sumatra, Indonesia. Changes were monitored in three study areas of 2,500–3,500 km2 since the 1970s and examined in conjunction with satellite-based active fire data sets. Forests disturbed by intensive logging were noticed to be intermediate stages towards further degradation. Fires were practically non-existent in nearly pristine peat swamp forests (7 fires/100 km2, 1996–2010), but were highly concentrated in heavily degraded forest areas (140 fires/100 km2) leading to either an extremely degraded landscape or conversion to agriculture. The results highlight the vulnerability of degraded peat swamp forest ecosystems and indicate that most of the remaining forested peatlands in Sumatra are in danger of either being fully converted to agriculture or turning into degraded unmanaged wastelands under current peatland management practices.

Keywords

Tropical peatland Wetlands Drainage Illegal logging Plantation development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank Dr Nick Mawdsley and two anonymous reviewers for valuable comments that greatly improved the manuscript. This study was conducted under the Singapore Delft Water Alliance (SDWA), a research cooperation initiative between the National University of Singapore and Deltares from the Netherlands. The first, fourth and fifth authors acknowledge financial support from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) of Singapore. The third author has been awarded a World Future Foundation PhD Prize in Environmental and Sustainability Research AY2010/2011.

References

  1. ATSR (2010) ATSR world fire atlas. European Space Agency, Paris. http://due.esrin.esa.int/wfa/. Accessed 02 Nov 2011
  2. Bowen MR, Bompard JM, Anderson IP, Guizol P, Guyon A (2001) Anthropogenic fires in Indonesia: a view from Sumatra. In: Eaton P, Radojevic M (eds) Forest fires and regional haze in Southeast Asia. Nova Science, Huntington, pp 41–66Google Scholar
  3. Chokkalingam U, Suyanto S, Permana RP, Kurniawan I, Mannes J, Darmawan A, Khususyiah N, Susanto RH (2006) Community fire use, resource change, and livelihood impacts: the downward spiral in the wetlands of southern Sumatra. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 12:75–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cochrane MA (2001) Synergistic interactions between habitat fragmentation and fire in evergreen tropical forests. Conserv Biol 15:1515–1521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corlett RT (2009) The ecology of tropical East Asia. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Couwenberg J, Dommain R, Joosten H (2010) Greenhouse gas fluxes from tropical peatlands in South-East Asia. Glob Change Biol 16:1715–1732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Davies DK, Ilavajhala S, Wong MM, Justice CO (2009) Fire information for resource management system: archiving and distributing MODIS active fire data. IEEE Trans Geosci Remote Sens 47:72–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Field RD, van der Werf GR, Shen SSP (2009) Human amplification of drought-induced biomass burning in Indonesia since 1960. Nat Geosci 2:185–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Giesen W (2004) Causes of peat swamp forest degradation in Berbak National Park and recommendations for restoration. Water for food and ecosystems programme, International Agricultural Centre (IAC), WageningenGoogle Scholar
  10. Goldammer JG (1999) Forests on fire. Sci New Ser 284:1782–1783Google Scholar
  11. Heil A, Langmann B, Aldrian E (2006) Indonesian peat and vegetation fire emissions: study on factors influencing large-scale smoke haze pollution using a regional atmospheric chemistry model. Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 12:113–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hirano T, Segah H, Harada T, Limin S, June T, Hirata R, Osaki M (2007) Carbon dioxide balance of a tropical peat swamp forest in Kalimantan, Indonesia. Glob Change Biol 13:412–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hooijer A (2005) Hydrological assessment of forest plantation impacts on tropical forested peatlands; Kampar Peninsula, Sumatra, Indonesia. In: Landscape-level assessment of hydrological and ecological values in the Kampar Peninsular, ProForest, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  14. Hooijer A, Silvius M, Wösten H, Page S (2006) PEAT-CO2, assessment of CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in SE Asia. Delft Hydraulics report Q3943, Deltares, DelftGoogle Scholar
  15. Hooijer A, Page S, Canadell JG, Silvius M, Kwadijk J, Wösten H, Jauhiainen J (2010) Current and future CO2 emissions from drained peatlands in Southeast Asia. Biogeosciences 7:1–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jauhiainen J, Limin S, Silvennoinen H, Vasander H (2008) Carbon dioxide and methane fluxes in drained tropical peat before and after hydrological restoration. Ecology 89:3503–3514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Langner A, Siegert F (2009) Spatiotemporal fire occurrence in Borneo over a period of 10 years. Glob Change Biol 15:48–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Miettinen J, Liew SC (2010) Degradation and development of peatlands in Peninsular Malaysia and in the islands of Sumatra and Borneo since 1990. Land Degrad Dev 21:285–296Google Scholar
  19. Miettinen J, Shi C, Liew SC (2011) Two decades of destruction in Southeast Asia’s peat swamp forests. Front Ecol Environ (on-line first)Google Scholar
  20. Page SE, Rieley JO, Shotyk OW, Weiss D (1999) Interdependence of peat and vegetation in a tropical peat swamp forest. Philos Trans R Soc B Biol Sci 345:1885–1897CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Page SE, Siegert F, Rieley J, Boehm H-DV, Jaya A, Limin S (2002) The amount of carbon released from peat and forest fires in Indonesia during 1997. Nature 420:61–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Page SE, Hoscilo A, Wösten H, Jauhiainen J, Silvius M, Rieley J, Ritzema H, Tansey K, Graham L, Vasander H, Suwido L (2009) Restoration ecology of lowland tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia: current knowledge and future research directions. Ecosystems 12:888–905CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Page SE, Rieley JO, Banks CJ (2011) Global and regional importance of the tropical peatland carbon pool. Glob Change Biol 17:798–818CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Rieley JO, Page SE (eds) (2005) Wise use of tropical peatlands: focus of Southeast Asia. ALTERRA—Wageningen University and Research Centre and the EU INCO—STRAPEAT and RESTORPEAT Partnership, WageningenGoogle Scholar
  25. Sheil D, Casson A, Meijaard E, van Nordwijk M, Gaskell J, Sunderland-Groves J, Wertz K, Kanninen M (2009) The impacts and opportunities of oil palm in Southeast Asia: what do we know and what do we need to know? Occasional paper no. 51. CIFOR, BogorGoogle Scholar
  26. Siegert F, Ruecker G, Hinrichs A, Hoffmann AA (2001) Increased damage from fires in logged forests during droughts caused by El Nino. Nature 414:437–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Simorangkir D (2006) Fire use: is it really the cheaper land preparation method for large-scale plantations? Mitig Adapt Strat Glob Change 12:147–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Stone R (2007) Can palm oil plantations come clean? Science 317:1491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Wahyunto, Ritung S, Subagjo H (2003) Maps of area of peatland distribution and carbon content in Sumatera, 1990–2002. Wetlands International—Indonesia Programme & Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC), BogorGoogle Scholar
  30. Wösten JHM, van den Berg J, van Eijk P, Gevers GJM, Giesen WBJT, Hooijer A, Idris A, Leenman PH, Rais DS, Siderius C, Silvius MJ, Suryadiputra N, Wibisono IT (2006) Interrelationships between hydrology and ecology in fire degraded tropical peat swamp forests. Water Resour Dev 22:157–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jukka Miettinen
    • 1
  • Aljosja Hooijer
    • 2
  • Jianjun Wang
    • 1
  • Chenghua Shi
    • 1
  • Soo Chin Liew
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing and Processing (CRISP)National University of Singapore (NUS)SingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.DeltaresDelftThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations