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Article

A Field Study of Tropical Peat Fire Behaviour and Associated Carbon Emissions

1
Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, Bogor 16128, Indonesia
2
Tropical Forests and People Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, QLD 4556, Australia
3
US Forest Service, Missoula, MT 59808, USA
4
Faculty of Forestry and Environment, IPB University, Kampus IPB Darmaga, Bogor 16680, Indonesia
5
Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, MD 21613, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Retired.
Academic Editor: Alan F. Talhelm
Received: 17 March 2022 / Revised: 23 April 2022 / Accepted: 27 April 2022 / Published: 29 April 2022
Tropical peatlands store vast volumes of carbon belowground. Human land uses have led to their degradation, reducing their carbon storage services. Clearing and drainage make peatlands susceptible to surface and belowground fires. Satellites do not readily detect smouldering peat fires, which release globally significant quantities of aerosols and climate-influencing gases. Despite national and international desire to improve management of these fires, few published results exist for in situ tropical peat fire behaviour and associated carbon emissions. We present new field methodology for calculating rates of fire spread within degraded peat (average spread rates, vertical 0.8 cm h−1, horizontal 2.7 cm h−1) and associated peat volume losses (102 m3 ha−1 in August, 754 m3 ha−1 in September) measured at six peat fire sites in Kalimantan, Indonesia, in 2015. Utilizing locally collected bulk density and emission factors, total August and September gas emissions of 27.2 t ha−1 (8.1 tC ha−1) and 200.7 t ha−1 (60.2 tC ha−1) were estimated. We provide much needed, but currently lacking, IPCC Tier 3-level data to improve GHG estimates from tropical peat fires. We demonstrate how calculations of total emission estimates can vary greatly in magnitude (+798% to −26%) depending on environmental conditions, season, peat burn depth methodology, bulk density and emission factors data sources, and assumed versus observed combustion factors. This illustrates the importance of in situ measurements and the need for more refined methods to improve accuracies of GHG estimates from tropical peat fires. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; greenhouse gases; haze; Indonesia; IPCC Tier 3; smouldering combustion climate change; greenhouse gases; haze; Indonesia; IPCC Tier 3; smouldering combustion
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MDPI and ACS Style

Graham, L.L.B.; Applegate, G.B.; Thomas, A.; Ryan, K.C.; Saharjo, B.H.; Cochrane, M.A. A Field Study of Tropical Peat Fire Behaviour and Associated Carbon Emissions. Fire 2022, 5, 62. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030062

AMA Style

Graham LLB, Applegate GB, Thomas A, Ryan KC, Saharjo BH, Cochrane MA. A Field Study of Tropical Peat Fire Behaviour and Associated Carbon Emissions. Fire. 2022; 5(3):62. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030062

Chicago/Turabian Style

Graham, Laura L. B., Grahame B. Applegate, Andri Thomas, Kevin C. Ryan, Bambang H. Saharjo, and Mark A. Cochrane. 2022. "A Field Study of Tropical Peat Fire Behaviour and Associated Carbon Emissions" Fire 5, no. 3: 62. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5030062

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