Moving forward with research into oil palm on tropical peatlands

News | Posted on Wednesday 24 April 2019

The past few months have been busy for the UK-Indonesian team in the YESI-linked tropical peatland restoration project.

In recent months work has continued on the various elements of the project, which focusses on forest and oil palm on peatland in Sumatra, Indonesia. Different members of the team have been working on mapping land cover, measuring greenhouse gas fluxes and soil microbial diversity, analysing landscape connectivity, conducting interviews with farmers and peat restoration stakeholders, and completing surveys of birds and vegetation to quantify biodiversity.

The first publication from the project, about a new mapping technique to assess land cover on tropical peatlands, came out in December 2018. Read a blog about the findings of the study, or access the original paper to find out more about this exciting work. The mapping method was extended across the whole study region, Jambi province, and the resulting map is currently being used by other members of the team for their analyses.

Exciting work is ongoing to assess the potential impacts of peat restoration on biodiversity and livelihoods, in landscapes dominated by oil palm. Interview and survey data from a programme of intensive fieldwork conducted in 2018 are currently being analysed by the project team. Further updates will be provided on the official project website in due course.

A final project workshop is being planned for July 2019, when the whole team will meet in Indonesia. The team will share their findings in detail, discuss future outputs, and raise awareness of their conclusions for peat restoration among stakeholders working in the region.

Author: Eleanor Warren-Thomas, Research Associate