Level Growth worked with industry to identify peat regions and protect these areas to help reduce greenhouse emissions. Protection includes no draining, remediation of prior encroachment, and prevention from clearing and planting.
Peatlands have been estimated to contain up to 20 to 100 times the carbon of natural tropical forest depending on the depth of the peat. The average depth of peat forest in Kalimantan is estimated to be 5.5 meters.
Indonesian peat land fires are estimated to release 1000s million t CO2 per year, contribute to up to 80% of GHG emissions yearly for Indonesia, and have cost related to respiratory illnesses, school closures, business disruption including airline travel, crop and local economic destruction, and habitat and ecosystem destruction.
The Challenge - Protecting Peat Land
Steps to achieve protection of peat land start with awareness of local, regional, and national regulations that are enforceable, and understandable (can be easily communicated to the community and the corporate partners)Peat is suboptimal for a planting base, and carries significant risk to farms due to variances in water levels and risk of fire. Communities benefit from land preservation and employment opportunities associated with land and water management in peat areas. And habitat preservation significantly supports species diversity and threatened and endangered species, particularly when significant areas of land become "permanently" designated and peat - non-usable for farming. Logistics include identifying peat areas by "mapping", followed by logistics for water table management to keep peat submerged with native overgrowth to eliminate CO2 off-gassing. Coordination between groups with traditionally divergent interest including local villages, farms, multiple NGOs, and government agencies results in environmental preservation and more optimal farming, and local community engagement and benefits.
A map of peat depth measurements on a farm guide water levels to keep peat from exposure to air. Exposure leads to massice green house gas release of C02 and poses a significant risk of fire. Fire on peat lands is extremely difficult to extinguish.
Signs of peat under planted trees, color, analysis, and pH confirm.
Well managed areas of peat distant bordering previously planted oil palm with water level maintenence.
Example of mineral soil (no discernible peat formation).
Identifying and determining depth of peat land is the first step in providing protection.
Field team to do peat depth measurements. (Above)
Well managed areas of peat bordering previously planted oil palm with water level maintenence.
Peat areas are organic materials typically in an acidic anaerobic environment. The peat in Kalimantan and Sumatra formed 20,000 years ago and is thought to be the oldest on earth.
Peat measurements where the area ranged from > 51 cm to greater than 300 cm deep.