According to the report of Wetland International (Joosten, 2009), about 90 percent of Indonesian peatland constitutes degraded peatland. The utilization of peat land for oil palm plantations, according to various studies, turns out to have reduced peatland GHG emissions (Table 1).
Table 1: Oil palm plantations on peatland reduce peatland CO2 emissions (degraded peatland)
|Primary Peatland Forest||78.5||Melling.et al.. (2007)|
|Secondary Peatland Forest||127.0||Hadi.et al.. (2001)|
|Peatland oil palm||57.6||Melling.et al..(2007)|
|Peatland oil palm||55.0||Melling.et al.. (2005)|
|Peatland oil palm||54.0||Hooijer. et al (2006)|
|Peatland oil palm||54.0||Murayama and Bakar (1996)|
|Peatland oil palm||38.0||Melling andHenson (2009)|
|Peatland oil palm||31.4||Germer and Sauaerborn (2008)|
Secondary peatland GHG (degraded peat land) emissions amount to127 tons of CO2/hectare/year. By planting oil palm on peatland, GHG emissions decline to 55-57 tons of CO2/hectare/year (Melling. et al., 2005. 2007), Murayama and Bakar (1996). Hooijer (2006) found a smaller emissions figure, namely 54 tons of CO2/hectare/year. Even Germer and Sauaerborn (2008) found oil palm plantation GHG emissions on peatland to be far smaller, namely only 31.4 tons of CO2/hectare/year. The differences in the study results were possibly caused, among other factors, by differences in depth and quality of the peat and management of oil palm plantations on peatland.
The results of Sabiham’s research (2013) show (Table 2) that carbon stocks in the upper level of peatland increases in line with the rise in the age of oil palm plants. Carbon stocks in older peatland oil palm plantations are even higher compared with carbon stocks in degraded peatland forest.
Table 2: Comparison of the carbon stock in upper levels of peatland and on peatland with oil palm plantations
|PeatlandUse||Carbon Stocks (tonC/ha)|
|Primary Peatland Forest||81.8|
|Secondary Peatland Forest||57.3|
– Age under 6 years
– Age under 9-12 years
– Age 14-15 years
Based on the above empirical facts, oil palm plantations on peatland do not increase peatland GHG emissions; on the contrary they reduce peatland GHG emissions. Therefore, the utilization of secondary peatland for oil palm plantations managed in line with sustainability principles can reduce peatland GHG emissions compared with if they are left untended as secondary peatland areas.