APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The program aims to reduce emissions in Indonesia and Russia through hydrological restoration of peatlands, stopping conversion of peatland areas, improved management of existing agricultural plantations on peatlands, reducing fires, and reforestation. It will integrate climate, community and biodiversity considerations. The approach first involves identification of areas for i) direct rehabilitation, and ii) improved management. This requires biophysical, socio-economic and legal assessments, and consultations with local authorities and communities. Once areas have been identified, long-term management rights will be secured. A greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system will be established to enable generation and sale of carbon credits. Site-specific restoration and conservation activities will be designed.
Site-specific rehabilitation of peatlands will involve, among other things, blocking of existing drainage channels in collaboration with local communities. Replanting of degraded areas will also be undertaken, and community capacity to develop nurseries and conduct replanting activities will be strengthened. Fire prevention activities will also be a priority, along with strengthening of local capacity to suppress fires when they do occur. Improved management and conservation will involve taking an ecosystem view to management of target peatlands, recognizing that due their specific hydrological characteristics peatlands are extremely sensitive to disturbances. Management needs to consider how land use changes, and especially those which involve drainage, will impact on peat areas, even across significant distances. Efforts will be made to support production techniques such as wet agriculture (paludiculture) which generate benefits from peatlands without diminishing their environmental functions.
A portion of the emission reductions will be achieved through direct interventions such as blocking channels, fire prevention and paludiculture on land over which the program has direct management rights. Carbon financing will be used to ensure that areas are self-supporting over the long-term. The remaining emissions will result from technical advice to others managing peatland areas, and advocacy to influence government policies that affect peatlands management.
In Indonesia, the program will adopt a community-based approach. This will include providing incentives to local stakeholders to protect and restore peatlands through provision of investment capacity in the form of micro-credits, and on-going capacity building for management of small-scale enterprises. By providing micro-credits for sustainable development, this approach enables local communities to refrain from unsustainable practices and be actively involved in environmental conservation and restoration.
IMPLEMENTATION, TIMELINE, AND DELIVERABLES
Areas for restoration in Russia should be identified by the end of 2011. Identification of areas in Indonesia and securing management rights will be on-going until the end of 2012. MRV systems will be established, and should be in place by the end of 2012. Implementation of restoration and conservation activities will begin in 2012 and continue through 2015.
Deliverables will include 86,487 acres of peatlands restored in Russia, 494,211 acres restored in Indonesia, stopped conversion of 1,235,527 acres, improved management on 864,869 acres of existing plantations, reduced fires on 580,698 acres, and reforestation on 24,711 acres.
Large areas of organic wetland (peat) soils are currently drained for agriculture, forestry and peat extraction globally. This process contributes significantly to climate change. Peat, which is normally under water, is comprised of organic carbon. When it is exposed to air, it decomposes and turns into CO2, which is released to the atmosphere. Peat fires cause the same process. The program aims to reduce these emissions significantly.
Wetlands International has more than a decade of experience in piloting efforts to restore peatlands, to the benefit of carbon storage, biodiversity and local livelihoods. The organization has been a pioneer in advancing scientific understanding of peatland degradation, and developing practical experience on the approaches and impacts of peatland restoration in SE Asia, Russia, China and Europe.