With the return of the El Niño weather pattern after a three-year hiatus, several Southeast Asian nations are preparing for the resurgence of the hazardous haze caused by peatland fires in Indonesia. Indonesia’s 24 million hectares of tropical peatlands – the largest holding worldwide – support vital biodiversity and carbon storage. However, agricultural expansion and drainage for oil palm and pulpwood plantations pose severe threats to these ecosystems. These activities release vast amounts of greenhouse gases, and peat, once drained, is also highly combustible, emitting even more greenhouse gases if ignited. So how closely linked is the fate of the peatlands to global warming? And how can Indonesia balance its development needs while also protecting the environment and contributing to global climate goals? Experts on Indonesia’s peatlands, Professor Daniel Murdiyarso and Dr Luba Volkova, examine the current state of Indonesia’s peatlands and ongoing conservation efforts, in conversation with presenter Peter Clarke.
Main image (L-R): Dr Luba Volkova and Prof Daniel Murdiyarso. Listing image: Cleared Peatland in Central Kalimantan. Credit: CIFOR/Flickr.