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Peatlands management and
sustainability
Marcel Silvius, Programme Head Climate-smart Land-use Programme
IPS, Tullamore, 8 June 2015
Wetlands International
A global conservation NGO dedicated to
“sustain and restore wetlands for people and nature”
Peatlands around the world
Peatlands globally store twice the carbon stored in forests
Peat swamp typical for Atlantic forest of Brazil
and countries of the Guyana shield
Congo basin
Peat swamp forest
in Maputa land, Southern Africa
Valley peats in
St Lucia National Park
South Africa
Temperate zone peatlands
Uganda
Belarus
Malaysia
China
Peatland drainage & climate
Degrading peatlands: a global issue
Hotspots of CO2 emissions (annual)
• 400 million ha peatlands world wide
• 15% (50 million ha) is drained and degrading, causing CO2 emissions
• 50% of global peat emissions come from South-east Asia
USA
72 Mt
EU
174 Mt
Russia
160 Mt
Central Asia
15 Mt
1000Mt
SE Asia
10
Peat CO2 emissions from drainage
(without fires)
IPCC
5% of all human induced emissions globally
Close look at Europe
Data: H. Joosten and J. Couwenberg
Peatlands in Europe are often modified land
Consequences:
• 2% of EU’s agricultural on drained peat causes 70% of EU’s
agricultural GHG emissions
Netherlands peatlands: 2-6 meters below sea level
Land subsidence
High flood risks in lowlands
High costs for dikes and pumping
Loss of biodiversity
West Europe
> 90% drained
Central Europe
> 50% drained
Perverse subsidies in Germany and the EU
• Wide-spread maize cultivation on drained peat for biogas production
• Used for subsidised energy: electricity and heating
• Tax free (EU Commission - for climate change mitigation)
 But this biogas is not climate friendly
 Carbon footprint 8 × fossil fuel (from peat oxidation)
EU Renewable Energy & Fuel Quality Directives:
• No source materials for biofuels from drained peatlands & wetlands –
• but this doesn’t apply to energy…….
Peat extraction
Always unsustainable (loss of carbon store)
Always seek optimal use of alternatives
TheNetherlan
Total: 4.2 Millio
Soil&growingmedia
Total: 35 Million cubic meter
Energy
Total: 35 Million cubic meter
Peat consumption in Europe
Total: 70 Million cubic meter
Not high added value
Plenty of alternatives
High added value
Kerry, Ireland
Ireland (original peatland area 14,000 km2)
has degraded 93% of its raised bogs and
82% of its blanket mire resource
Optimal replacement of peat in growing media
• EU subsidises the burning of millions of tonnes of high quality
compost
• This material could potentially replace up to 20% of peat in high quality
growing media for horticulture
• Climate subsidies thus cause shortage of compost materials for the
growing media sector
Conclusion:
1. Burning of compost impedes the replacement of substantial amounts
of peat in growing media
2. This results in more GHG emissions from peatland degradation
3. EU is subsidising climate change with climate funding!
Compost can replace part of peat in growing media
Leakage and indirect land-use change
Is stopping extraction in Germany a solution?
It will lead to additional extraction of class 1 & 2 sites in the Baltic states
• RPP
 For high added value applications
 transparency
 certification
• Can there be a win-win?
 Help restore degraded areas
 Minimise negative effects
 Maximise positive effects
 No extraction from high conservation value areas
 Requirements over and above existing legislation
Peat extraction
Peatland rehabilitation after peat mining
Esterweger Dose
Where can there be RPP?
?
?

Never
Not
allowable,
unless…
Generally
allowable,
unless….
Always
allowed
Creating an after-use outcome that is better
than the situation pre-extraction
NET POSITIVE IMPACT
Biomass ≠ sustainable bioenergy
If using high quality compost materials that could be used to replace peat
in growing media
Agriculture on peat ≠ sustainable
It is one of the most climate destructive activities
Biogas ≠ sustainable energy
If it is derived from biomass grown on drained peat
Stopping peat extraction in Germany ≠ good for the environment
It displaces the problem to the Baltics and Scandinavia
with higher impacts on biodiversity and climate
Peat extraction on degraded peatlands ≠ bad
It can help to restore degraded peatlands
Not everything is what it looks like
Towards European Action on Peatlands
Conservation:
• Establish system of effective peatland conservation
Representation of all biogeographic regions
Peat mining:
• Peat extraction only in degraded sites, with requirement
for peatland restoration after extraction
 Nature restoration or Paludiculture
 Invest in research and availability (!) of alternatives
Agriculture:
• No expansion of drainage-based agriculture on peat
• Phasing out of drainage-based agriculture on peat
Close look at South-east Asia
Most (60%) tropical PSF is in SE Asia; mainly Sumatra & Borneo
SE Asia’s remaining primary PSF is mainly limited to Brunei
Belait peat swamp forest, Brunei
SE Asian peat forests have high species biodiversity!
• 11% of plants found in PSF are endemic to PSF
• 14% of freshwater fish in PSF are point endemics
• 45% mammals / 33% birds of PSF in IUCN Red List
• Endemism: especially species directly related to
peat soil or water
Many rare and endemic species in
SE Asian peat forests
Dragonfly
endemism in PSF
Podolestes atomariusElattoneura erythroma Amphicnemis platystyla
Amphicnemis spec. novum
Prodasineura spec novum
Raphismia inermis
Coeliccia species novum
Elattoneura longispina
Coeliccia spec novum
> 10% of dragonfly species
known from Central Kalimantan
are PSF specialists
Sout-east Asia
Most of
South-east
Asian
peatlands
Impact of peatland drainage: oxidation and fires
August 2013 fires in Riau
Peatlands the largest carbon source in Indonesia
• 50% of Indonesian GHG emissions from peatlands
• only 6% of agricultural land
Peatland drainage, subsidence and flooding
Matu-Daru district,
Sarawak, Malaysia
CO2 CO2CO2
Examples of subsidence in the field
Drained > 100 years
Oil palm flooded after 10 years
Foundation
constructed
2002
Peat subsidence and
resulting flooding is a fact
Johor, Malaysia, 2011Alabio polder, South Kalimantan
70 cm
Flooded oil palm plantation in Riau, 2014
Almost all lowland peatlands of Sumatra and Borneo will be
affected by flooding
Case study: Rajang delta, Sarawak
• Deforestation
8% per year
• Rapid conversion
to palm oil
• Remaining peat
forests largely
affected by
drainage
Land conversion Sarawak
Situation in 2004
Situation in 2014
• 2009:
most of the
delta lies
above mean
sea level
• 2019:
subsidence will
have brought
most of the
peatland down
or just above
mean sea level
Projected peatland subsidence
Projected impacts of subsidence and related flooding
N
Towards solutions
Policies
changed?!
1.Stop further peatland degradation:
• Stop conversion of natural peat forests
• Exclude drained peat based products from
supply chains (e.g. palm oil, paper)
2.Rewet drained peatlands:
• Phase out drainage based land-use
• Phase in paludiculture
 Commercial use of rewetted peatlands
Priorities for reducing impacts
Peatland rewetting, Central Kalimantan
Hydrological restoration stops
emissions and restores biodiversity
Communities
build
dams using
traditional
techniques
2003
2012
Paludiculture, Central Kalimantan
Communities replant degraded peatlands
Reforestation
In cooperation with PT RMU and
Ecosystem Restoration Concessions
in Indonesia
Wetlands International staff
surveying the 150,000 ha
Katingan Ecosystem Restoration
Concession
Community-based implementation
Local stakeholders must benefit
 Healthy & productive environment
 Employment & benefit sharing
 Micro-credits
See: www.wetlands.org/bio-rights
 Paludiculture sustainable income
 Carbon credits from village forests
and paludiculture
We need to start a paradigm shift from
unsustainable practices to Net Positive Impact
More information on
www.wetlands.org
Thank
y u

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Peatland management for sustainability

  • 1. Peatlands management and sustainability Marcel Silvius, Programme Head Climate-smart Land-use Programme IPS, Tullamore, 8 June 2015
  • 2. Wetlands International A global conservation NGO dedicated to “sustain and restore wetlands for people and nature”
  • 3. Peatlands around the world Peatlands globally store twice the carbon stored in forests
  • 4. Peat swamp typical for Atlantic forest of Brazil and countries of the Guyana shield
  • 6. Peat swamp forest in Maputa land, Southern Africa Valley peats in St Lucia National Park South Africa
  • 9. Degrading peatlands: a global issue Hotspots of CO2 emissions (annual) • 400 million ha peatlands world wide • 15% (50 million ha) is drained and degrading, causing CO2 emissions • 50% of global peat emissions come from South-east Asia USA 72 Mt EU 174 Mt Russia 160 Mt Central Asia 15 Mt 1000Mt SE Asia
  • 10. 10 Peat CO2 emissions from drainage (without fires) IPCC 5% of all human induced emissions globally
  • 11. Close look at Europe Data: H. Joosten and J. Couwenberg
  • 12. Peatlands in Europe are often modified land Consequences: • 2% of EU’s agricultural on drained peat causes 70% of EU’s agricultural GHG emissions Netherlands peatlands: 2-6 meters below sea level Land subsidence High flood risks in lowlands High costs for dikes and pumping Loss of biodiversity West Europe > 90% drained Central Europe > 50% drained
  • 13. Perverse subsidies in Germany and the EU • Wide-spread maize cultivation on drained peat for biogas production • Used for subsidised energy: electricity and heating • Tax free (EU Commission - for climate change mitigation)  But this biogas is not climate friendly  Carbon footprint 8 × fossil fuel (from peat oxidation) EU Renewable Energy & Fuel Quality Directives: • No source materials for biofuels from drained peatlands & wetlands – • but this doesn’t apply to energy…….
  • 14. Peat extraction Always unsustainable (loss of carbon store)
  • 15. Always seek optimal use of alternatives TheNetherlan Total: 4.2 Millio Soil&growingmedia Total: 35 Million cubic meter Energy Total: 35 Million cubic meter Peat consumption in Europe Total: 70 Million cubic meter Not high added value Plenty of alternatives High added value Kerry, Ireland Ireland (original peatland area 14,000 km2) has degraded 93% of its raised bogs and 82% of its blanket mire resource
  • 16. Optimal replacement of peat in growing media • EU subsidises the burning of millions of tonnes of high quality compost • This material could potentially replace up to 20% of peat in high quality growing media for horticulture • Climate subsidies thus cause shortage of compost materials for the growing media sector Conclusion: 1. Burning of compost impedes the replacement of substantial amounts of peat in growing media 2. This results in more GHG emissions from peatland degradation 3. EU is subsidising climate change with climate funding! Compost can replace part of peat in growing media
  • 17. Leakage and indirect land-use change Is stopping extraction in Germany a solution? It will lead to additional extraction of class 1 & 2 sites in the Baltic states
  • 18. • RPP  For high added value applications  transparency  certification • Can there be a win-win?  Help restore degraded areas  Minimise negative effects  Maximise positive effects  No extraction from high conservation value areas  Requirements over and above existing legislation Peat extraction Peatland rehabilitation after peat mining Esterweger Dose
  • 19. Where can there be RPP? ? ?  Never Not allowable, unless… Generally allowable, unless…. Always allowed
  • 20. Creating an after-use outcome that is better than the situation pre-extraction NET POSITIVE IMPACT
  • 21. Biomass ≠ sustainable bioenergy If using high quality compost materials that could be used to replace peat in growing media Agriculture on peat ≠ sustainable It is one of the most climate destructive activities Biogas ≠ sustainable energy If it is derived from biomass grown on drained peat Stopping peat extraction in Germany ≠ good for the environment It displaces the problem to the Baltics and Scandinavia with higher impacts on biodiversity and climate Peat extraction on degraded peatlands ≠ bad It can help to restore degraded peatlands Not everything is what it looks like
  • 22. Towards European Action on Peatlands Conservation: • Establish system of effective peatland conservation Representation of all biogeographic regions Peat mining: • Peat extraction only in degraded sites, with requirement for peatland restoration after extraction  Nature restoration or Paludiculture  Invest in research and availability (!) of alternatives Agriculture: • No expansion of drainage-based agriculture on peat • Phasing out of drainage-based agriculture on peat
  • 23. Close look at South-east Asia
  • 24. Most (60%) tropical PSF is in SE Asia; mainly Sumatra & Borneo
  • 25. SE Asia’s remaining primary PSF is mainly limited to Brunei Belait peat swamp forest, Brunei
  • 26. SE Asian peat forests have high species biodiversity!
  • 27. • 11% of plants found in PSF are endemic to PSF • 14% of freshwater fish in PSF are point endemics • 45% mammals / 33% birds of PSF in IUCN Red List • Endemism: especially species directly related to peat soil or water Many rare and endemic species in SE Asian peat forests
  • 28. Dragonfly endemism in PSF Podolestes atomariusElattoneura erythroma Amphicnemis platystyla Amphicnemis spec. novum Prodasineura spec novum Raphismia inermis Coeliccia species novum Elattoneura longispina Coeliccia spec novum > 10% of dragonfly species known from Central Kalimantan are PSF specialists
  • 30. Impact of peatland drainage: oxidation and fires August 2013 fires in Riau
  • 31. Peatlands the largest carbon source in Indonesia • 50% of Indonesian GHG emissions from peatlands • only 6% of agricultural land
  • 32. Peatland drainage, subsidence and flooding Matu-Daru district, Sarawak, Malaysia CO2 CO2CO2
  • 33. Examples of subsidence in the field Drained > 100 years Oil palm flooded after 10 years Foundation constructed 2002 Peat subsidence and resulting flooding is a fact Johor, Malaysia, 2011Alabio polder, South Kalimantan 70 cm Flooded oil palm plantation in Riau, 2014
  • 34. Almost all lowland peatlands of Sumatra and Borneo will be affected by flooding Case study: Rajang delta, Sarawak
  • 35. • Deforestation 8% per year • Rapid conversion to palm oil • Remaining peat forests largely affected by drainage Land conversion Sarawak Situation in 2004 Situation in 2014
  • 36. • 2009: most of the delta lies above mean sea level • 2019: subsidence will have brought most of the peatland down or just above mean sea level Projected peatland subsidence
  • 37. Projected impacts of subsidence and related flooding N
  • 39. 1.Stop further peatland degradation: • Stop conversion of natural peat forests • Exclude drained peat based products from supply chains (e.g. palm oil, paper) 2.Rewet drained peatlands: • Phase out drainage based land-use • Phase in paludiculture  Commercial use of rewetted peatlands Priorities for reducing impacts
  • 40. Peatland rewetting, Central Kalimantan Hydrological restoration stops emissions and restores biodiversity
  • 42. Paludiculture, Central Kalimantan Communities replant degraded peatlands Reforestation
  • 43. In cooperation with PT RMU and Ecosystem Restoration Concessions in Indonesia Wetlands International staff surveying the 150,000 ha Katingan Ecosystem Restoration Concession
  • 44. Community-based implementation Local stakeholders must benefit  Healthy & productive environment  Employment & benefit sharing  Micro-credits See: www.wetlands.org/bio-rights  Paludiculture sustainable income  Carbon credits from village forests and paludiculture
  • 45. We need to start a paradigm shift from unsustainable practices to Net Positive Impact More information on www.wetlands.org Thank y u