Peatlands absorb vast amounts of carbon from our planets atmosphere, storing it below ground. You can find, on average, 20 times more carbon stored in a peatland compared to that which trees and vegetation can hold. Although these unique habitats cover only 3% of the Earth surface, they can store more carbon than all other vegetation types in the world combined. It's vital that we conserve and restore peatlands as when they are destroyed, the carbon within them is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
A calculation that shows up to 36% of the worlds tropical peatlands can be found in Indonesia. A lot are increasingly being destroyed to make way for agricultural farming, including the plantation of palm oil and acacia crops. From 2000 to 2015, Indonesia lost on average 498,000 hectares of forest each year! - a rough equivalent to 996000 football fields or just over a quarter of Wales!
This project is located within Katingan and Kotawaringin Timur districts in the Central Kalimantan Province of Indonesian Borneo; this project sets out to protect and restore 149,800 hectares of peatland ecosystem. Protection of the existing peatland forest is carried out through satellite monitoring and fire management. The forests are monitored through high-resolution satellite imagery, which allows for the quick detection of small scale changes, for example, fires or logging activities. This gives the field staff the ability to intervene quickly before people or fires can cause significant damage.
Dried peat is highly flammable, so when large areas of above-ground vegetation are cleared, and the soil is drained, it can cause significant issues. The team has a highly sophisticated and advanced process including drones, satellite monitoring, over 500 professionally trained community firefighters, and planting sections of fire-resistant tree species to prevent fires from damaging the project area. This is only one half of what the team on the ground do, though, for the project. As well as preventing fires and illegal logging activities from taking place they also work to restore the previously damaged areas of the peatland forests. Their efforts include the backfilling of canals to manage water around the site more effectively and the construction of deep wells.
- Protect the carbon stored within the peatlands to prevent its release back into the atmosphere, which would severely negatively affect climate change.
- Protect the region's rich biodiversity, which contains 44 critically endangered vulnerable plant and animal species (including 5-10% of the world's remaining Bornean orangutan population).
- Improve the wellbeing and sustainable economic prospects of the 43,000 local people through initiatives such as:
- Supporting local female-led businesses with micro-finance loans
- Youth job training and internships
- The provision of health education and wellbeing support to help the most vulnerable community members.
This project is verified by the Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard. You can view it on the Verra Registry.