Research Project:

Putting the carbon back into peat:

A contribution of palaeoecology to the enhancement of carbon sequestration and improvement of conservation and restoration success of Indonesian peatlands

Peatland conservation and restoration is currently considered as valuable and effective strategies to reduce atmospheric carbon in an attempt to combat global climate warming. However, the success of peatland conservation and restoration is often thwarted by inadequate ecological knowledge. Also, common peatland restoration techniques such as rewetting and reforestation can consume an enormous amount of funds that are not always available. To maximize the ecological benefit particularly of peatland carbon sequestration given the limited available resource, an attempt to optimize the ecosystem carbon sink capacity is therefore needed. Such optimization can likely be achieved by planting peat-swamp forest taxa that engineer rapid peat carbon accumulation. However, unlike the northern peatlands where Sphagnum sp. is well recognized as the main agent, the taxa responsible for rapid peat carbon accumulation in Indonesia are barely unexplored.

This research aims to provide ecological insights on the environment dynamics, driving factors and ecosystem response to the environmental drivers of Indonesian peatland as well as to identify the taxa composition responsible for their rapid C sequestration. The outcomes of this research are intended to improve the success of peatland conservation and restoration efforts.

Keywords: Palaeoecology, peatland, carbon sequestration, climate mitigation, conservation, restoration

Funding: DFG since 2018