Berbak Green Prosperity Partnership, Indonesia

The Berbak landscape in Jambi, Sumatra is dominated by peatlands. Peatland drainage and clearing, mainly associated with logging and palm oil expansion, have left a peat landscape that is only partly forested and that has subsided by up to several meters.

  • Topic

    Climate adaptation

  • Location

    Indonesia

  • More info

    Rinus Vis

The Berbak landscape in Jambi, Sumatra, extends over 250,000 ha and is dominated by peatlands. Key is the internationally acclaimed Berbak National Park and a buffer zone that includes a Grand Forest Park (or Tahura), protection forest (Hutan Lindung) and two commercial logging concessions. Beyond the buffer zone are oil palm concessions and community lands.

Peatland drainage and clearing, mainly associated with logging and palm oil expansion, have left a peat landscape that is only partly forested and that has subsided by up to several meters. The area is regularly affected by floods and fires in wet and dry seasons, respectively, which incur significant costs to both the local economy and well-being of people in both the Berbak area and beyond. Canal construction and peatland drainage are the key drivers of these processes and the resulting GHG emissions to the extent that degraded peatland is the source of almost half of Indonesia’s total greenhouse gas emissions. As long as the landscape remains drained and in the absence of a major intervention, these impacts will continue with flooding worsening, ending the potential for production of key commodities such as oil palm and rice.

The Project aims at rehabilitating degraded peatland and promoting sustainable land use, both in peatland and on mineral soils, in the buffer zone of Berbak National Park in Jambi, Sumatra. To rehabilitate degraded peatlands, drainage and the resulting subsidence and oxidation of such areas need to be reduced as much as possible. This can only be done by blocking the canals, thus raising the water levels and so ‘rewetting’ the peat.

Deltares established the biophysical basis for restoring the degraded peatland and GHG emission reduction. A LiDAR based digital terrain model was made and the drainage canals and fire history of the area were mapped as well as peat thickness and the extent of the present flooding. This information served as the basis for a land and water management zoning plan and a canal blocking plan. It is foreseen that 194 km of canal will be blocked with 206 dams consisting of consolidated peat.