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Large-Scale Practice on Tropical Peatland Eco-Management

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Abstract

The goal of conventional tropical peatland management is to reduce the groundwater level for agriculture and plantations because commercial crops and plants are generally susceptible to high soil moisture and high groundwater levels, of which conventional water management, here, is called “Drainage-based water management(Drainage-based WM). This Drainage-based WM has been a basic technology for tropical peatland management for a long time. Recently, however, El Niño occurrences have increased, causing serious droughts in Southeast Asia, and the drained peatland has resulted in serious damage, causing severe peat and forest fires, as well as peat degradation by microorganisms. Therefore, this Drainage-based WM has been modified by canal/drain/ditch blocking. However, when big El Niño occurred, due to the limited rainfall, the water supply was reduced regardless of canal blocking in many cases.

Thus, a new water management system is required in tropical peatland, with innovative water management, which is denoted herein as “Stock-based water management(Stock-based WM). This “Stock-based WM” is like an “irrigation system” for the paddy field. Water flow is designed to achieve a high level of water retention in the ecosystem.

In Drainage-based WM, water should drain from the tropical peatland ecosystem as soon as possible, which is called “Conventional Management.” In Stock-based WM, water should be retained in the tropical peatland ecosystem as long as possible, which is called “Eco-management.” The “Eco-management in a large-scale ecosystem of tropical peatland” comprises four components: (1) water management and land-use planning, (2) biodiversity conservation planning, (3) new technologies to preserve peat, and (4) their evaluation systems. The goals of this “Eco-management” in a large-scale tropical peatland are (1) to establish a carbon-negative system, including mitigation and adaptation strategies to global climate change; (2) to address biodiversity conservation at the landscape level; and (3) to provide socioeconomic security to the people who are already making a livelihood on the peatlands.

Keywords

  • Carbon negative
  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Conservation planning
  • Drainage-based water management
  • Stock-based water management

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Acknowledgments

First, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to our seniors and colleagues of Sumitomo Forestry, co., Ltd., as well as the experienced Mr. Suhadi and others from the Alas Kusuma Group, for their enthusiastic support towards the success of the business. We believe that the success of this project is the result of the collective efforts of two leading forestry companies in Japan and Indonesia.

We should like to extend our deepest gratitude to Dr. Michael Allen Brady, Professor Chairil Anwar Siregar, Professor Gusti Z Anshari, Dr. Agus Justianto, and Emeritus Professor Hisao Furukawa for constructive suggestions to develop a new concept of tropical peatland management. We would also like to thank Dr. Hadi S. Pasaribu, Ir. Nana Suparna, and Ir. Popi Komalasari MM for valuable information on the history of Indonesian forestry and political changes. We deeply respect their expertise in forestry.

Several research activities have been jointly conducted with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Indonesia, as a pilot project to develop the responsible peatland management in Indonesia, supported in part by The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH).

Finally, we would like to acknowledge the entire staff of WSL-MTI for developing a model through years of trial and error in the field. Without their continuous effort, we may have not yet reached the concept and strategy for peatland management.

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Correspondence to Tsuyoshi Kato .

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Kato, T., Silsigia, S., Yusup, A.A., Osaki, M. (2021). Large-Scale Practice on Tropical Peatland Eco-Management. In: Osaki, M., Tsuji, N., Foead, N., Rieley, J. (eds) Tropical Peatland Eco-management. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-33-4654-3_3

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