Estimation of carbon storage in Indonesian peatlands

Florian Siegert and Julia Jaenicke

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

carbon, climate-change, peat-volume, spatial-modelling, tropical-peat

Siegert et al. 2008: Estimation of carbon storage in Indonesian peatlands


Land conversion and recurrent fires in tropical peatlands cause the release of large amounts of the greenhouse gas CO2. To estimate the carbon storage in Indonesian peatlands we determined the peat extent and volume by means of satellite imagery (Landsat ETM+, SRTM) and 750 in situ peat thickness measurements. It was found that a correlation between the convex peat surface and bedrock exists. Applying 3D modelling, the peat volume of selected, typical peat domes in Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra and West Papua was calculated. On the basis of these investigations it is suggested that 55-61 Gt carbon are stored in the Indonesian peatlands. If major peatland conservation and restoration measures are not implemented immediately the significant influence on the global climate resulting from CO2 release of degraded tropical peatlands will continue. A global CO2 increase of up to 6.5 ppm, caused by oxidation and burning of Indonesian peatlands alone, is possible within the next decade.