Tropical Wetlands for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Science and Policy Imperatives with Special Reference to Indonesia
As Indonesia contains the largest amount of peat swamp (21 million hectares, half of the world total) and mangrove forests in the world (3 million hectares, 1/3 of the world total), it was an ideal location for the paper authors to study these highly productive ecosystems that provide a buffering function again the transmission of pollutants; transfer energy and nutrients to coral reefs; protect coastal zones from tropical storms; and serve as fish and wildlife nurseries. There is a particular focus on tropical forests because they have the highest rate of land-cover change with 45 percent of Indonesia’s peat forests having been deforested or drained, which produces large plots producing carbon emissions when the materials decompose.
Excerpt from the report:
The following priorities and recommendations were identified:
- Empirical models should be developed for full carbon accounting for REDD+ projects in tropical freshwater peatlands, mangroves and coastal wetlands.
- Biogeochemistry models for tropical freshwater peatland and mangrove ecosystems should be developed and tested, utilising existing datasets, and in collaboration with ongoing and planned field studies. Several models have been mentioned above (e.g. ECOSSE, HPM, MEM2, DNDC), but this list is by no means exhaustive and other initiatives are encouraged.
- Decision support tools should be developed for policy makers that facilitate exploration of different climate change, land-use and disturbance scenarios, along with tools that can assess multiple ecosystem services in addition to carbon, such as biodiversity, food security, water resources, and trade-offs between these services (e.g. Koh and Ghazoul 2010).