Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 27, Issue 1, 2021; Page No.(463-471)

EMPOWERMENT BASED PEATLAND ECOSYSTEM CONSERVATION FOR FIRE CONTROL AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

Zulkarnain and Owin Jamasy Djamaludin

Abstract

Peat ecosystems are a hydrological buffer and carbon stock that is very important for the environment. This ecosystem must be protected through conservation so that its function can be maintained. Conservation of peatland ecosystems means that emissions of very large amounts of carbon can be minimized. Conservation of peat areas in several places is increasingly important because it tends to decrease peat lands. Peatland conservation in Indonesia is regulated in Presidential Decree No. 32 of 1990 concerning protected areas. Protection of peat areas is intended to control the hydrology of the area, which functions as a water store and prevents flooding, as well as protecting the unique ecosystems in the area concerned.Peatlands have hydrological, biogeochemical, biodiversity protection and forest product production functions. Peat is also useful for preventing drought, flooding and mixing saltwater for irrigation in agricultural areas. But the benefits are lost because the peatlands are burning. Therefore, peatlands must avoid fires through the empowerment-based ecosystem conservation.The community empowerment approach becomes a strategic choice because in its implementation process it has optimized community participation, trying to improve the community’s ability to analyse conditions and the potential and problems that occur around peatlands. The empowerment approach also can formulate priority program options that are relevant to program objectives including fire control and environmental preservation. Conservation of peat land ecosystems based on empowerment means carrying out a conservation process by involving the community for the purpose of aid effectiveness, increasing the potential of the community, and increasing community contributions towards a sense of ownership and a sense of responsibility towards the sustainability of the program. Fire disasters in some parts of Indonesia are still a serious threat, as well as peatland shrinkage. The current study seeks to find evidence and solutions through descriptive qualitative studies in the provinces of East Kalimantan, North Sumatra and Aceh. The results of the study confirm that conservation of Peatland ecosystems based on empowerment is a strategic approach.

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