Increased CO2 emissions due to rewetting of degraded tropical peatlands under oil palm plantations

Shailendra Mishra, Romy Chakraborty, Jyrki Jauhiainen, Hanna Silvennoinen, Umashankar Shivshankar, Peter I Benke Aswandi Idris and Sanjay Swarup

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


greenhouse-gas-emissions, metabolomics, microcosm-study, peat-oxidation, peat-subsidence




Peatlands occupy 44.1 Mha worldwide, of which nearly 15% have been drained and deforested mainly for commercial agriculture. This degradation has resulted in emissions of 1.3 Gt CO2 yr-1, which excludes the considerable source of emissions arising from peat fires. From the global area under degraded peatlands, nearly 3.1 Mha is present in Southeast Asia, mainly drained and deforested for commercial plantations of oil palm and Acacia. The current rate of carbon emissions from these peatlands under commercial plantations is estimated at 230-310 Mt CO2e yr-1. This degradation has led to physical loss of peat resulting in its subsidence, which is a proxy for CO2 emissions. As drainage of these peatlands has been associated with significant increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, hydrological restoration by rewetting to bring back the water table levels near to the peat surfaces, is…