Jukka Miettinen, Aljosja Hooijer, Chenghua Shi, Soo Chin Liew, Chris Malins and Susan Page
Proceedings of the 14th International Peat Congress
peatland-conversion, plantation-development, tropical-peatland
Theme IX. Tropical peatlands
In this paper we present the extent of industrial plantations in 2010, their historical expansion and projections for future development on Southeast Asian peatlands. The analysis is based on visual interpretation of high resolution satellite images. Industrial plantations covered over 3.1 Mha (20%) of the peatlands of Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo in 2010. Historical analysis shows strong acceleration of plantation development in recent years: 70% of all industrial plantations have been established since 2000 and only 4% of the current plantation area existed in 1990. Projections of future conversion rates indicate that 6-9 Mha of peatland in insular Southeast Asia may be converted to plantations by the year 2020. Subsequently, the associated annual carbon emissions from peat decomposition in industrial plantations would increase from the current 230 Mt CO2e to over 450 Mt CO2e.