Among the suboptimal land types, peatland is one of the most exposed, yet also most misunderstood. Despite its enormous ecosystem services, the peatland condition on our Earth is in danger due to unsustainable practices. Now is time to act for a change.
The word ‘agriculture on peatland’ is often associated with unsustainable practices resulted in high carbon emission that worsens climate change. The main cause of this threat is the drainage and burning practices in peatland agriculture, which leads to high subsidence rate and fire risk.
In fact, research and studies have been conducted around the world to identify ways for sustainable peatland agriculture. The main principle for sustainable peatland utilization is managing the water, instead of draining them. Once the water management supports the agriculture, it should be supported by soil management and adaptive varieties. Our research in peatland aims to build evidence of its possible sustainability and to keep improving its practices.
We believe that sustainable agriculture in peatland can minimize the detrimental impact to the environment and bring benefits to the people. In the long run, we can facilitate a policy change to accommodate food production in suboptimal land and bring betterment to our food security issue.
Our main collaborator at present is the stakeholders in peatland region of Pulau Burung. The current studies are including measurement of carbon balance and assessment of food crops production within plantation area of the local company and the smallholders.
A patch of multiple cropping site is set around the office area of PT RSUP, known as the Kilometer 9 (KM9). To date, many food crops such as dragon fruit, aloe vera, onion, and coffee have thrived in this small scale project. We observe similar situation in the house yard of many smallholder farmers. The plan is to facilitate further research and upscale on more essential Indonesian crops including rice, corn, cassava, and soya bean.