EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Tropical peatland conservation in Indonesia as a nature-based solution

Chandra Shekhar Deshmukh1, Ari Susanto1, Adibtya Asyhari1, Ankur R. Desai2, Susan Page3, Nardi Nardi1, Nurholis Nurholis1, Hendrizal M. Hendrizal1, Sofyan Kurnianto1, Yogi Suardiwerianto1, Fahmuddin Agus4, Dwi Astiani5, Supiandi Sabiham6, Vincent Gauci7, and Chris Evans8
Chandra Shekhar Deshmukh et al.
  • 1Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL), Pangkalan Kerinci, Indonesia (
  • 2Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI, USA.
  • 3Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, School of Geography, Geology and the Environment, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.
  • 4Indonesian Center for Agricultural Land Resources Research and Development, Bogor, Indonesia.
  • 5Faculty of Forestry Universitas Tanjungpura, Pontianak, Indonesia.
  • 6Department of Soil Science and Land Resource, Institut Pertanian Bogor, Bogor, Indonesia.
  • 7Birmingham Institute of Forest Research (BIFoR), School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
  • 8Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Bangor, UK.

The importance of the land sector in addressing the climate and nature crises has gained worldwide attention. Nature-based solutions were a key topic at the recent United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees. The conservation, restoration, and improved management of peatlands play a significant role in Indonesia's nature-based solutions.

The eddy covariance measurements of net ecosystem carbon dioxide and methane exchanges from a coastal peatland in Sumatra, Indonesia indicate that the GHG balance increased from 20.0 ± 4.5 tCO2e ha−1 yr−1 at the intact site (undrained and undisturbed forest cover) to 43.8 ± 1.5 tCO2e ha−1 yr−1 at the degraded site (drained with canal system and selectively logged). The significant carbon dioxide emissions from the intact site, during an extreme drought caused by a positive Indian Ocean Dipole phase combined with El Niño event, highlight the potential importance of climate regime in determining the GHG budget of tropical peatlands.

Although the measurements indicate that both intact and degraded peatlands in this study are warming the atmosphere, it remains clear that protection of the remaining intact tropical peatlands offers a viable way to avoid substantial GHG emissions from this globally important ecosystem, which for our study in Sumatra was 24 ± 5 tCO2e ha−1 yr−1. These results highlight that protecting all remaining intact peat swamp forests in Indonesia (6.2 Mha) from degradation will avoid GHG emissions of around 0.15 GtCO2e yr-1, this equates to ~10% of Indonesia’s GHG emissions in 2016.

Additionally, tropical peatland conservation contributes directly to the UN Sustainable Development Goals by fostering unique biodiversity and ecosystem services.

How to cite: Deshmukh, C. S., Susanto, A., Asyhari, A., Desai, A. R., Page, S., Nardi, N., Nurholis, N., Hendrizal, H. M., Kurnianto, S., Suardiwerianto, Y., Agus, F., Astiani, D., Sabiham, S., Gauci, V., and Evans, C.: Tropical peatland conservation in Indonesia as a nature-based solution, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-6896,, 2022.


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