COP17 Told of Positive Impact of Forest Plantations

…. On the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions – The development of pulpwood plantations on degraded peat land, or land that had been stripped of forest, can contribute significantly to increased absorption of greenhouse gases (GHGs), according to a study that was carried out by a team of Indonesian academics from the reputed Institut Pertanian Bogor (Bogor Agricultural University)

Dr. Mahmud Raimadoya, a Measurement, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Peat land Management expert from IPB whose team carried out the study found that using radar systems, along with satellite imagery and on the ground verification, that pulpwood plantations on degraded peat land actually increase carbon absorption, greater than that of natural forest in the same area. Therefore it is believed that there are important lessons here, in terms of forestry management, not just for Indonesia but other countries as well.

The study was carried out on an area of land of about 600,000 hectares in South Sumatra that was largely destroyed by fire in 1997-98. The denuded area was then developed into a pulpwood plantation by pulpwood suppliers of Asia Pulp & Paper. Using airborne and spatial radar technology, the research team was able to evaluate the impact of pulpwood plantation on the degraded land over four distinct periods: before the forest fires; after the forest fires; during the early plantation period; and during the recent plantation period, from 2009 onwards.

The study showed the positive impact that sustainable forestry management can have on climate change. Responsibly managed forests are re-planted and re-grow, absorbing more carbon dioxide and so the cycle continues.

Along with increased carbon absorption, the findings of the study specifically showed that, in the period 2004-2009, the development of pulpwood plantation managed to successfully improve land cover significantly.