JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 10 : DISTRIBUTION AND UTILIZATION OF GLOBAL PEATLAND
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Utilization of peatland for oil palm cultivation has received criticism from anti-palm NGOs. The NGO considers that developing oil palm on peatland as high carbon stock (HCS) land will increase greenhouse gas emissions. An extraordinary spotlight from anti-palm NGOs to Indonesia, as if Indonesia has the most extensive peatland in the world so that its HCS must be maintained as a global carbon stock and only Indonesia as the only country that is expanding and utilizing peatland for the agricultural sector (including oil palm plantations) expansively to the point of causing damage.
Based on data of Wetland International in 2008, the global peat land areas around 381.4 million hectares, and the most global peatland distributed among Europe and Russia (44.08 percent) and Americas (40.5 percent). Based on the countries has a largest peatland are Russia (137.5 million hectares), Canada (113.4 million hectares) and Indonesia (26.5 million hectares) respectively. Not only Wetland data, the area of Indonesia’s peatland also varied are: 14.9 million hectares (Ritung et al., 2011); 18.3 million hectares (Ministry of Agriculture); 21 million hectares (Agus and Subiksa, 2016) and 26.4 million hectares (Ministry of Environment and Forestry). Although Indonesia’s peatland area data is quite varied, based on these data it can be concluded that Indonesia is not a country that has the world’s largest peatland.
The utilization of peatland for agriculture occured in almost all countries/regions that have peatland. Total global peatland utilization used for agricultural activities reached 296.3 million hectares and most of them spread on Asia (44 percent), America (39 percent) and Europe (11 percent). Data by country, Russia is the country that used the most greater peatland for the agricultural sector, which has reached 130 million hectares. Followed by United States has agriculture on peatland about 12.4 million hectares. Meanwhile, data of peatland in Indonesia that are used for the agricultural based on Agency for Agricultural Research and Development was 6.05 million hectares. The data showed that the utilization of peatland for agriculture in other countries greater than occured in Indonesia.
Actually, utilization of peatland in Indonesia which are used for the agricultural sector (include oil palm plantation), does not break the law because there is regulation related to them (Government Regulation No. 57 of 2016). Utilization of peatland for oil palm cultivation is carried out in peat ecosystems with cultivation functions and carried out with sustainable cultivation techniques while still being able to maintain the condition of the peat ecosystem so as not to experience damage.
Empirical evidence of the development of sustainable oil palm plantations on the peatland in Negeri Lama which has been running for 4 generations of the economic age of oil palm plants and have been able to meet the needs and improve the welfare of previous generations and without endangering current and future generations.