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Farewell from People for Peat

Apr 28, 2023 by People for Peat


T H E    P E A T    P E R S P E C T I V E

ISSUE 007   |   APRIL 2023


Greetings Friends of Peat,

As cliche as it sounds, all good things come to an end. The People for Peat journey is ending after 4 incredible years. We have truly enjoyed journeying through Southeast Asia’s peatland landscapes with you and sharing our ups and downs.

In this final edition of the newsletter, let’s walk down memory lane and revisit all the beautiful places we’ve been to while paying tribute to the amazing community leaders and members fighting to conserve and preserve their peatlands. We will also shine the light on other NGOs and bodies who are forging a new path on peatlands.

Ready? Let’s go.

Less than 3% of the landmass in the Philippines is classified as peatlands. This includes the Agusan Marsh and Leyte Sab-a Basin, with many unverified peatlands dotted around the archipelago. With a size of around 3,000 hectares, Leyte Sab-a plays a significant role as a carbon sink in the country.

Philippines Friends of Peat:
1. Women Enablers Advocates & Volunteers for Empowering & Responsive Solutions (WEAVERS): Facebook
2. Forest Foundation Philippines: Facebook
3. International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR): Facebook
4. The Peat by Wild Wild Pigs: Facebook
Vietnam has an estimated 12,983ha of peatlands, approximately 12,000ha of which is located in the Mekong Delta. The U Minh Ha National Park is one of Vietnam’s last remaining fragments of peat swamp forest and home to several globally threatened species. 
Thailand’s peatlands are believed to be concentrated in the South, mainly in Narathiwat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Phatthalung, Trang, and Surat Thani. The Thale Noi Non-Hunting Area in Phatthalung is a protected biodiversity hotspot which consists of peat swamp forests, rice fields, and lush grasslands. 
Thailand Friends of Peat:
1. Thale Noi Wetland Foundation: Facebook
2. Pin Rapee Bilingual School: Facebook
3. BTLLAgroforestry: Blog | Facebook

Thailand Research:
1. Plant Community Composition and Their Economic Valuation in Secondary Peat Swamp Forests, Southern Thailand
Malaysia has the second largest extent of peatlands in Southeast Asia. Among them is Ayer Hitam Utara Forest Reserve in Muar, Johor. It is the largest and last remaining peat swamp forest in the state of Johor and also the only peat swamp forest recognised and protected as a Forest State Park in Peninsular Malaysia. 
Photo by Raras Cahyafitri, WRI
Indonesia has the largest tropical peatland area in the world at around 25 million hectares. Permata Village in West Kalimantan is one of the many communities that call peatlands home. This community shies away from monoculture and also practices "Tumbang Imas" - a fire-free method of peatland clearing. 

Peatlands are so new in Laos that there isn’t an official word for them. In fact, the government only officially defined peatlands and published a map of them in 2019. Initial surveys have identified peatlands scattered throughout the country from North to South. Some of them, such as Nong Youb, are estimated to be thousands of years old. 

Research and knowledge about peatlands in Cambodia is in its infancy. While there is no national definition of “peatlands” in the country, the government and people have embraced the importance of this critical ecosystem. Among the identified peatland areas are the Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary (PWKS) and the Botum Sakor National Park. 
Cambodia Friends of Peat:
1. Mlup Baitong: Website

Cambodia Stories
1. Cambodia: Peam Krasop Wildlife Sanctuary

As peatland awareness in Myanmar is only about a decade-old, there are no comprehensive or specific peatland maps. So far, research has identified several areas as peatlands, including Inle Lake and Heho Basin.
|      I N T E R N A T I O N A L    L E N S     | 
Mekong Peatlands Project

The Mekong Peatlands Project is focused on Mekong countries - Lao PDR, Cambodia, and Myanmar - and implemented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The project works in collaboration with partners and government agencies to sustainably manage peatland ecosystems in targeted countries and to conserve biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

"We feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many dedicated and passionate peatland communities over the course of this project. Peatlands conservation cannot happen in a silo. Governments, non-governmental organisations, and communities must work hand in hand to ensure lasting change.

We hope the networks we have helped build will endure and the data we have contributed to will inform official policy in Southeast Asia. People for Peat’s time might be over, but our peatlands must last forever. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of this peatland story.”

The People for Peat Coalition
Thank you again for all your support in making this project possible. We appreciate the kind attention and amplification of the work we and our partners have been doing over the past four years. We hope that along this journey you have been as inspired as we have, and will be invigorated to continue the work of the sustainable use of peatlands for haze mitigation in ASEAN. We wish you well on your journey, may we cross peatland paths again!

People for Peat
World Resources Institute Indonesia | Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre | Yayasan Inisiatif Dagang Hijau



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