An Integrated Landscape Approach for Socially Inclusive Peatland Restoration

Timothy Jessup, Hendrik Segah, Marcel Silvius, Grahame Applegate, Yasurum Jagau


Successful restoration and fire prevention in peat landscapes require full rewetting and permanent revegetation for optimal water retention. The ecological and socio-economic heterogeneity of these landscapes calls for integrated approaches based on participatory zonation and locally appropriate business models. Primary activities in deep-peat core zones are blocking of drainage canals and revegetation; in shallow-peat buffer zones, forestry and agroforestry on fully rewetted peat, aquaculture, and duck farming; while on surrounding non-peat mineral soils, more intensive tree plantations and agriculture. Community-oriented enterprises require private investment, including microfinance. Blended public and private investment is needed for core-zone restoration. Assuming restoration costs of USD 250-1,000 per ha on moderately drained peat, with emissions of 40tCO2/ha/year, carbon finance could pay for the cost of restoration in under 10 years if emissions are fully or largely abated. To stimulate investment in multiple peatland landscapes we propose a provincial ‘enabling platform’ to support participatory zoning, project design, and monitoring based on common standards and methodologies; technical assistance and incubation for project start-up; multi-stakeholder support for enabling policies, plans and institutions; strengthened finance mechanisms and bundled investments for large and small enterprises; and robust scientific support and knowledge exchange.

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