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Special Issue "Tropical Peatland Conservation and Restoration: Sustainable and Climate-Smart Technology, Finance and Management Models"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Resources and Sustainable Utilization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 4025

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Bradley Hiller
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Consultant, Asian Development Bank, Mandaluyong 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines
Interests: ecosystem restoration; sustainable development; climate change; poverty alleviation
Dr. Shailendra Mishra
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore 639798, Singapore
Interests: sustainability; sustainable supply chain; conservation; restoration; nature-based climate solutions; climate change and socioeconomics

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

This Special Issue will highlight contemporary research on sustainable and climate-smart technology and finance and management models to support tropical peatland conservation and restoration.

The United Nations Environment Program identifies tropical peatlands across South East Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, and South and Central America. Tropical peatlands provide important ecosystem functions, including being home to the world’s largest terrestrial carbon sinks and a wide range of biodiversity, and playing a role in balancing hydrological flows. They also often support the livelihoods of local communities. However, increasingly, tropical peatlands are vulnerable to human and climate-induced threats, including disturbance from deforestation, drainage, and fire for purposes including agriculture, forestry, and resource and infrastructure development. Disturbance of tropical peatlands is an increasing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (5-10% of emissions globally), regional air pollution (from burning), and socioeconomic, biodiversity, and environmental damage. Wide variability in tropical peatland spatial extent and status of disturbance exists across regions and countries. For example, in some countries, disturbed tropical peatlands are already a leading source of GHG emissions and seasonal fires, while others remain largely undisturbed. Hence, complex but often locally specific trade-offs exist between conservation, development, and livelihood considerations, among stakeholders including government, private sector, and communities in and around peatland areas.

Thus, there are increasing climate, environment, socioeconomic, and political imperatives for devising and implementing sustainable and climate-smart technology and finance and management models for the conservation and restoration of disturbed and undisturbed tropical peatlands. The scope of this Special Issue includes, but is not limited to the following:

  • An increased technical understanding of tropical peatland dynamics (including carbon and nitrogen cycles and vulnerability to climate change impacts), rewetting regimes and revegetation practices;
  • Emerging stakeholder-led management models, including local and community-driven approaches and private sector value chain transparency and conservation schemes;
  • Leveraging the power of innovative technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, digital mapping, and satellite imagery, to improve conservation and restoration activities;
  • Mobilizing promising sources of finance for conservation and restoration, including climate finance and peatland bonds.
  • Embedment into national and local government policy and enforcement programs and linkages to relevant international agreements, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Ultimately, it is hoped that findings can help improve the plight of tropical peatlands, their role as carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots, and the sustainability of livelihood opportunities for communities living in and around peatland areas. It is also hoped that by taking a global approach, the insights and findings from one region may be relevant for the sustainable management of tropical peatlands in other regions.

We hope to encourage rich discussion on this important topic and look forward to your potential contribution.

Supplementing existing literature: Peatlands have long been recognized in the scientific literature as important carbon sinks [1–4]. More recently, and worryingly, their increasing role as sources of greenhouse gas emissions has been confirmed, so much so that they are now considered a major global source. For example, tropical peatlands are responsible for an estimated 5–10% of greenhouse gas emissions globally [5]. Beyond the climate change imperative, there are strong biodiversity and livelihood considerations for tropical peatland areas. While the literature on the science of peatlands is increasing, there is less translation of that information into sustainable and climate-smart models for the management of both pristine and degraded peatlands. This Special Issue hopes to promote discussion of such management models and accompanying policy, technology, and financial innovations that may facilitate and support them. Ultimately, it is hoped that the knowledge generated in the Special Issue can help to reduce or reverse the recurring and accelerating disturbance of tropical peatlands and facilitate an exchange of ideas between regions to help do so.

References:

  • Harriss, R., Gorham, E., Sebacher, D. et al. Methane flux from northern peatlands. Nature 1985, 315, 652–654.
  • Crill, P. M., Bartlett, K. B., Harriss R. C. et al. Methane flux from Minnesota Peatlands. Global Biogeochemical Cycle 1988, 2 (4), 371–384.
  • Armentano, T.V. Drainage of organic soils as a factor in world carbon cycle. Bioscience 1980, 30, 825–830.
  • Moore, T. R., and Knowles, R. Methane emissions from fen, bog and swamp peatlands in Quebec. Biogeochemistry 1990, 11, 45–61.
  • Günther, A., Barthelmes, A., Huth, V. et al. Prompt rewetting of drained peatlands reduces climate warming despite methane emissions. Nature Communications 2020, 11, 1644.

Dr. Bradley Hiller
Dr. Shailendra Mishra
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • tropical peatlands
  • conservation
  • restoration
  • climate change
  • sustainable management
  • finance
  • technology
  • policy

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
In Vitro Multiplication of Lophostemon suaveolens (Sol.ex Gaertn.) Peter G.Wilson & J.T. Waterh): Peatland Tree Species for Rehabilitation
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 14720; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142214720 - 08 Nov 2022
Viewed by 346
Abstract
Peatlands in Indonesia are one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, helping to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Lophostemon suaveolens is a relatively unexplored plant found in Papua’s endemic peat ecosystem that grows well in wet areas with low fertility. [...] Read more.
Peatlands in Indonesia are one of the world’s largest carbon sinks, helping to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change. Lophostemon suaveolens is a relatively unexplored plant found in Papua’s endemic peat ecosystem that grows well in wet areas with low fertility. It is geographically dispersed and has the potential for peatland rehabilitation. Seed is one of materials for the reproduction of L. suaveolens. However, the difficulty in seed collection and the limitation in seed production has become a current problem for its cultivation. Seed multiplication by using an in vitro method would be one of the mechanisms to overcome the problem. We present an efficient and reproducible protocol for in vitro multiplication of plantlets using nodal segments and shoot apices collected from plantlets. After 3 months of the culture initiation stage, the elongated axillary shoots were separated from the clumps and further multiplied using Murashige and Skoog (MS) media supplemented with (1) BAP (0.5 mL/L) as single PGR, (2) NAA (0.1 mL/L) as a single PGR, and (3) a combination of two types of PGR BAP (0.5 mL/L) and NAA (0.1 mL/L). Up to an incubation period of 6 months, the efficiency of leaf axillary shoot propagation was determined by counting the number of nodule multiplication coefficient (NMC), shoot length, root length, and number of leaves (six consecutive subcultures). The higher the NMC, the higher the plantlets obtained, increasing shoot regeneration from nodules physiologically increasing evapotranspiration in vitro. The highest of NMC (8.4) was observed in MS medium with a combination of 0.5 mL/L BAP and 0.1 mL/L NAA (double PGRs), with the longest shoots (5.91 cm), the longest root length (8.83 cm), and the most leaves (32). When a combination of BAP and NAA were used simultaneously, the plantlets during acclimatization were the highest survived. It was concluded that MS in combination with 0.5 mL/L BAP and 0.1 mL/L NAA is the most appropriate protocol for the success of in vitro multiplication of L. suaveolens. This is the first report of L. suaveolens in vitro multiplication, and the protocol could be used to propagate this peatland species on a large scale. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the experimental work and recommend further work to increase the sample size and complete the field-testing phase to help verify the initial findings presented in this paper. Full article
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Article
Relationships between Organic Matter and Bulk Density in Amazonian Peatland Soils
Sustainability 2022, 14(19), 12070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141912070 - 24 Sep 2022
Viewed by 685
Abstract
The carbon pool of Amazonian peatlands is immense and mediates critical ecological functions. As peatlands are dynamic, similar to other wetland systems, modeling of the relationship between organic matter and dry bulk density allows the estimation of the accumulation and/or decomposition of peats. [...] Read more.
The carbon pool of Amazonian peatlands is immense and mediates critical ecological functions. As peatlands are dynamic, similar to other wetland systems, modeling of the relationship between organic matter and dry bulk density allows the estimation of the accumulation and/or decomposition of peats. We tested several models: the generalized linear mixed logarithmic, to test depth, and the non-linear logarithmic and power-law models. There is a negative power-law relationship between organic percentage and dry bulk density using peat samples collected in Amazonian peatlands (n = 80). This model is supported by the coefficient of determination (R2) estimates garnered from model fitting, while Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) values further support parsimonious models. We also ran trials of the ideal mixing model with two parameters: k1 representing organic density and k2 representing mineral. The mixture of organic and inorganic components generally falls in accordance with the theory that decreasing k1 trends with increasing k2, although k2 values for these peat samples are negative. The organic k1 coefficient allows us to identify two sites out of the nine investigated, which can be prioritized for their carbon dynamics. The presence of high-density samples, which were not related to depth, indicates clay intrusion in these peatlands. We hope the modeling can explain processes significant to these globally important carbon-rich ecosystems. Full article
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Article
Development of Spatial Peatland Fire Danger Index Using Coupled SWAT-MODFLOW Model
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7632; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137632 - 22 Jun 2022
Viewed by 630
Abstract
The Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a numerical value reflecting the dryness of the top layer of soils, deep forest litter, logs, and living vegetation. The KBDI is expressed as a scale from 0 to 200, where the number represents the amounts of [...] Read more.
The Keetch–Byram Drought Index (KBDI) is a numerical value reflecting the dryness of the top layer of soils, deep forest litter, logs, and living vegetation. The KBDI is expressed as a scale from 0 to 200, where the number represents the amounts of rainfall (in millimeters) to return the soil to saturation. We proposed a method to integrate peatland groundwater as a key variable for the peatland forest fire hazard, and we called it mKBDI. The groundwater table was obtained from the SWAT-MODFLOW model simulation. The MODFLOW model uses a 200 m × 200 m grid. The SWAT-MODFLOW model was calibrated and validated using daily water level measurements in the river. The model failed to represent peak flow, but the model produced the average water level. Output from the simulation was read using the FloPy module, and then mKBDI was calculated. The daily calculations of the mKBDI for each grid for the catchment were saved in the NetCDF format using the x-array module. We applied this model in the Peatland Hydrological Unit (PHU) Merang-Kepahyang, South Sumatera, Indonesia, in 2015 (El-Niño year) and 2016 (La-Nina Year). The daily mKBDI index from all the grids in the catchment was classified into three classes: low (mKBDI < 100), moderate (mKBDI = 101–150), or high (mKBDI > 150). Then, the whole catchment was classified according to these classes. Therefore, every day the percentage of the area with low, moderate, or high class in the catchment dynamically changed. When these classes were verified with hotspot data, all hotspots only coincided with the high hazard classes, where more than 60% was area of the catchment. No hotspot data were reported on low/moderate levels throughout 2015/2016. In the larger area with high mKBDI classes, the frequency of hotspots substantially rose. Sixty-three hotspots occurred during August–October of 2015 when the area of high hazard classes was above 70%. Through this finding, we proposed to use a 60% area of the catchment with high mKBDI classes as a threshold value indicating that the area is prone to peatland fire. Therefore, the peatland restoration project in preventing the fire could be evaluated using this indicator. If the restoration projects could reduce the area with high mKBDI classes to less than 60% for the whole year, we could accept it as a successful project. Full article
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Article
Assessments of Underground Carbon Stocks in Merang-Kepahyang Peatlands, South Sumatra, Indonesia
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5473; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14095473 - 02 May 2022
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Abstract
Indonesia has 673 peat hydrological units (PHUs) covering more than 26.5 million hectares, of which approximately 70% are located on the Kalimantan and Sumatra Islands. Merang-Kepahyang PHUs in South Sumatra cover a total area of approximately 1.094 km2, comprising three watersheds, [...] Read more.
Indonesia has 673 peat hydrological units (PHUs) covering more than 26.5 million hectares, of which approximately 70% are located on the Kalimantan and Sumatra Islands. Merang-Kepahyang PHUs in South Sumatra cover a total area of approximately 1.094 km2, comprising three watersheds, namely Merang (360.3 km2), Buring (458.5 km2), and Kepahyang (275.3 km2). This area is globally known as a carbon (C)-rich ecosystem. However, there is still a lack of understanding of the C cycle in this area, primarily associated with land use and cover changes. This study spatially estimates belowground carbon stocks and relates them to land elevation, land use, and soil unit. To reduce inaccurate estimates, the volume of the peat is discretized by a 200 m × 200 m grid as a grid based analysis. This assessment aimed to obtain the baseline data with particular attention to provide information on the peat carbon and its spatial distribution in each watershed. We conducted field surveys and image analysis based on SPOT 6 (1.5 m/pixel with raster format 200 m/pixel) to produce interpolated data and maps of land use, soil unit, land elevation, peat thickness, and peat carbon. We found that the land elevation ranged from 1.5 to 13.0 m-MSL in Merang, from 1.1 to 13.5 m-MSL in Buring, and from 0.2 to 11.6 m-MSL in Kepahyang. Peat thickness in ranged from 1.3 m to 12.9 m in Merang, from 0.8 m to 13.2 m in Buring, and from 0.4 m to 11.4 m in Kepahyang. Peat carbon was 220 Mt in Merang, 225.8 Mt in Buring, and 116.8 Mt in Kepahyang. On average, peat carbon density was 6.11 kt ha−1 in Merang, 4.92 kt ha−1 in Buring, and 4.24 kt ha−1 in Kepahyang. The cumulative area covering the peat with a thickness greater than 3 m was 334.9 km2 (93%) in in Merang, 379.4 km2 (83%) in Buring, and 193.9 km2 (70%) in Kepahyang. There is a relationship between carbon content and elevation, where most of the high carbon content is in the higher elevation. Furthermore, the trees in the secondary forest are primarily found at higher elevations, while the shrubs are located at lower elevations. This is due to water table conditions below the land surface at higher elevations, and close to land surface at lower elevations. In conclusion, these watersheds are carbon-rich areas which are worthy of conservation while a small portion (<30%) may be used for cultivation. Full article
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