Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Peatland Projects

I haven't worked for one full month in my new office and suddenly my boss told me to take care of this field visit to Kalimantan. I was beyond excited because I've never been to Kalimantan, but I've never done such thing before *insert horror music here*.

My boss told me to go a day earlier to arrange everything before the whole group arrived. A few days before my departure, there were glitches and my boss had to hand me Rp 8 million in cash. I felt like I was in those Italian movies where the godfather showed a suitcase of money and said,"Kid, here's the money, just do the job." 

All praises to the Almighty, everything went quite smooth. The team in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan was very helpful with the hotel arrangement, the consumption and the transportation. All I needed to do was distributing the cash, muahaha *waving the fan-shaped money*.

Anyway, what were we doing in the heart of Borneo? We visited a demonstration plot of a peatland project my office is overseeing. I'll insert more wordings tomorrow, now you can enjoy the photos:).

Updated: I'd like to keep the name of my office a secret in this blog, but to give you a bit of description, my office is a national trust fund mechanism that facilitate and coordinate financial support for climate change-related activities. This sustainable peatland management project in Jabiren, Central Kalimantan is one of those projects. 

FYI, peatland, which is made from layers of decayed vegetation, is the major producer of green house gases and is also the cause of forest fires. Peat is basically a double-edged sword. If we let it be, it continues to produce green house gases. To let the peatland unused is a huge waste, because Indonesia has millions of hectares of peatland. But if we manage it carelessly, for e.g. burn it, it will even pose great dangers to humans and environment.

So, the researchers of MoA teamed up with farmers of Jabiren to make the peat useful for the farmers, while also help reduce the emission. To manage the peat, we need to keep the water level as shallow as possible/keep the peat well-irrigated. 

The researchers also suggested the farmers to use a mix of ameliorants on the peatland before they started planting. Each area of peatland may need different kinds of ameliorants, and this was where the researchers stepped in.

I hope I don't bore you out with those explanations :D.

After taking a two-hour flight and a 1.5-hour car ride, we still had to take this small boat to reach Jabiren village. It was an exhausting journey, but Carlos (a reporter from Berita Satu TV, sits in the back) had been faithfully checking in on his tablet at every spots we're going through :P.
Farmers check the water gate at the replication site in Panenga

A mix of ameliorants to be used on the field

Ready for the big world

A field inspector checks on a water pump at Kalampangan village

 Whoa, check out these chilies!

Again, I caught the guys busy with the gadget :D.

 I managed to persuade my friend Wda to join me in this trip. But although we spent the whole day together on the field and even stayed in the same hotel, we couldn't really talk to each other. I had been busy catering to everybody's needs/questions, while Wda was busy interviewing sources. This was the only photo we had.

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