World Earth Day: Restoring peat with the youth of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan
Our pilot project is located in an area in Pulang Pisau Regency, Palangkaraya, Central Borneo. The area was degraded due to a forest fire in 2015 that destroyed its peat ecosystem while the nearby communities have experienced the health impacts of harmful smoke.
To celebrate World Earth Day and to showcase the importance of restoring peatland, Hirai, with support from the Global Landscape Forum, invited students from Universitas Palangkaraya to visit degraded peat areas.
On 23 April, we planted 75 Meranti and 75 Pulai tree seedlings. These two species are native to the area and have higher survival rates because they are resilient to the fluctuation of water level in degraded peatland areas. Based on Sutherland et al. (2020), evidence from the islands of Borneo and Sumatra indicates that natural revegetation is difficult in highly degraded peatlands. It either does not happen, as revegetation in these peatlands does not happen naturally, or occurs very slowly, or may not produce the desired mix of species, resulting in monoculture or low tree diversity.
In this sense, the direct introduction of peatland vegetation may be necessary in severely degraded or bare peatlands. As such, Hirai works with local communities and stakeholders to help with peatland vegetation regeneration by planting different species of native plants in degraded areas.
With the support of Global Landscape Forum, HIRAI will use this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of preserving peat ecosystems and the urgency of working with local communities to restore the degraded ecosystem. Hirai will also work together with the stakeholder in Pulang Pisau District to plant more trees in the degraded area