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Mar 14, 2023 by People for PeatBanner Image By : Irene Chooi

HO CHI MINH, VIETNAM:  The People for Peat (PFP) coalition has concluded its Peat Science Dialogue - a knowledge exchange celebrating the cumulation of four years of research into Southeast Asia’s (SEA) peatland landscape.

PFP-funded researchers from Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Lao PDR, and Thailand gathered in Ho Chi Minh City on the 7th and 8th of March to present their research findings on peatland management, commodities, data, and monitoring. The Peatland Outlook Handbook - a critical overview of SEA’s peatlands, covering its distribution, legal frameworks and challenges - was also published at the event and treasured by researchers.

Research is critical to provide a strong evidence-based strategy for conserving and managing peatlands,” said Muamar Vebry, Programme Manager for Climate Change for the EU delegation to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam, “A lot of researchers are very much focused on their own work, so knowledge-sharing events like the Peat Science Dialogue is very important to ensure we build a bridge between passive knowledge and practical on-the-ground action.”

One of the studies which captured the most attention was the one which found microplastics in the peatlands of Long An, Vietnam, presented by Dr Nguyen Ngoc Son Hai on behalf of the research team. 

“The discovery of microplastics in Long An is very intriguing because a previous study in Central Kalimantan found that smoke from peatland fires contain gasses that are very harmful to human beings,” said Professor Bambang Hero Saharjo, one of the two panellists at the Peat Science Dialogue.

National University of Laos Lecturer, Souvanna Phengsisomboun, was also inspired by the Vietnam study, “We have researched microplastics along the Mekong river, but not on peatlands so it’s quite new to us. I think we can conduct a similar study in Laos after we learn how to analyse the data.

Researcher Yustina Octifanny also found the knowledge exchange insightful, “I was particularly interested in the peatland mapping conducted in the Philippines and loved hearing about the floating gardens in Myanmar.

As Mr Vebry explained, research and practical applications must go hand in hand in peatland conservation. Therefore, the Peat Science Dialogue wrapped up with a field trip to U Minh Thuong National Park - an 8,038-hectare peat-swamp forest and Ramsar site recognised as one of the four high-priority wetland conservation areas in the Mekong Delta. 

In SEA, there is still a gap in information and knowledge about peatlands, especially in countries which are relatively new to peat such as Lao PDR and Cambodia. PFP is happy to see that the Peat Science Dialogue has inspired new conversations and set the groundwork for future peatland research. 

The studies conducted and networks we have built here have set important foundations for the better understanding of peatlands,” said Satya Budi Utama, Senior Project Lead for People for Peat, “I admire and thank all our researchers for their hard work, especially during the pandemic. You are the People of Peat and I hope we will all be able to grow together in the spirit of People for Peat.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or requests for more information.

Please refer to the table below for the full list of research presented at the Peat Science Dialogue. Click on the link associated with each research to read the summary and access the presenter slides.




Investigation of Microplastic Pollution in Peatland and Its Risk Assessment: A Case Study in Long An Province, Vietnam

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Dr Nguyen Ngoc Son Hai (Vietnam)

The Evaluation of Peatland Ecological Service and Community Management in Pathoumphone District, Champasack Province, Lao PDR

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Souvanna Phengsisoumboun (Lao PDR)

Land Tenure Classification and the Involvement of Local Community in Sustainable Peatland Management on West Kalimantan Peatlands 

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Yustina Octifanny (Indonesia)

Best Agriculture Practice Development in Peatlands of Myanmar: Case Study in Inle Lake and Heho Area 

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Dr Myo Aung (Myanmar)

Establishment of Demonstration Site for Peatland Conservation through Integrated Management in Sustainable Utilization of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) 

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Sann Lwinn (Myanmar)

Plant Community Composition and Their Economic Valuation in Secondary Peat Swamp Forests, Southern Thailand 

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Dr Cherdsak Kuaraksa (Thailand)

Characterization Survey of Tan-ag Ilaya Peatlands 

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Magnolia Rosimo (Philippines)

Co-producing Appropriate Indicators for a Peat Fire Danger Rating System with Local Communities and Government in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

[Summary and Presenter Slides]

Hevirona Bani Adam (Indonesia)



People for Peat

The European Union’s Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (EU-SUPA) Component 2 programme is implemented by the People for Peat coalition comprised of the World Resources Institute (WRI) Indonesia, the Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre (TRCRC), and the Yayasan Inisiatif Dagang Hijau (IDH). 

The coalition of ‘People for Peat’ (PFP) will serve as a platform to coordinate peatland management and haze mitigation efforts across eight ASEAN countries; Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. The activities will revolve around three pillars of data and information, business and investment, and outreach and advocacy. The intended goal is to improve the ability of non-state actors (NSAs) such as local communities, private sector entities, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), research institutions, and financial institutions, so they can make peatland management more sustainable and thus mitigating fires and haze in the ASEAN region. 

Over the next four years, PFP is looking to build a network of local and regional partnerships with smallholder farmers, CSOs, and private sector businesses working on peatlands. PFP believes that the partnerships will open up opportunities for alternative businesses within peatlands, including funding, and investment in innovative and sustainable peatland management practices.

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