Carbon budgets under different land uses on tropical peatland

J.O. Rieley and S.E. Page

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Tropical Peatlands

carbon, carbon-dioxide, climate-change, oil-palm, tropical-peatland

Rieley et al. 2008: Carbon budgets under different land uses on tropical peatland


Tropical peatland contains about 3% of the total global soil carbon and much of this is being released from store to the atmosphere as greenhouse gases (GHG), mostly CO2, and particulates (PM10) as a result of over-intensive logging, deforestation, drainage, land use change and fire. Between 0.87 and 2.57 Gt of carbon were released to the atmosphere as a result of forest and peat fires in Indonesia in the 1997 El Niño year, equivalent to 3–10 Gt CO2. In the subsequent 10 years it is estimated that up to 20 Gt CO2e have been released from Indonesia’s peatland as a result of peat subsidence (decomposition and oxidation) from land use change and fire (conversion to farming and plantations). We present 25 year life cycle comparisons of the impact of different land uses on tropical peatland in Indonesia (oil palm and pulp tree plantations) on CO2e emissions compared to the natural, forested state and deforested, drained and degraded areas.