Indonesian peatlands protection plan nets RM3.9mil

JAKARTA: A plan to use satellite imagery and aerial mapping to protect Indonesia’s peatlands – a vast carbon sink and source of much of the country’s greenhouse emissions – has been awarded a US$1mil (RM3.9mil) prize.

The cutting-edge technology will be used by authorities to clamp down on illegal clearance of the land for plantations, helping to prevent a repeat of annual forest fires that plague the region while also reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

The government, with the support of global partners, came up with the competition two years ago to help achieve its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The winning entry from the International Peat Mapping Team was recognised by the judges for offering “the most accurate, timely and cost-effective methodology for mapping peatlands”.

Bambang Setiadi, an Indonesian member of the winning team, said Indonesia has the largest tropical peatland area in the world.

“We need technology to measure the depth of peat domes and water levels,” said Setiadi, whose team included scientists from Indon­esia, Germany and the Netherlands. — AFP