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Commission IX - Tropical peatlands

Chairman: Prof. Jack Rieley
The Pingle
1 Closes Side Lane
East Bridgford
Nottingham NG13 8NA
Phone: +44 1949 20920
E-mail: jack.rieley (at) btinternet.com

The IPS Commission on Tropical Peatlands was established at the International Peat Congress in Tullamore in June 2008. At the International Symposium on Tropical Peatland in Kuching, Malaysia in August 2008, a steering committee was formed and a suggestion made to appoint Dr. Jack Rieley as pro-tem Chair of the Commission. The final approval of the Commission was given at the 46th Executive Board meeting in Jyväskylä in November 2009. Further information will be available soon.

Annual Report 2010

This has been a relatively quiet year for Commission IX. Members are spread around the world and few have provided information on their activities. Fire, fortunately, was less of a hazard this year owing to the shorter dry season and consistent heavy rain.

IPS Convention 2010

At the IPS Annual Convention that was held in Jyväskylä, Finland from 14-18 June 2010 there were too few members of Commission X in attendance to hold a formal meeting.

At the Annual Assembly of National Representatives of IPS held on 16 June 2010 it was decided that the International Peat Congress in 2016 will be held in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.  This is a momentous decision since it will be the first time that the IPC has been held in a tropical country. It also means, under the current IPS Statutes, that the Malaysian National Committee of IPS will nominate the 1st Vice President for 2012-2016 who will become IPS President for the period 2016-2010. We look forward to a fantastic Congress in 2016 and welcome all IPS members and colleagues to Kuching.

IPS Convention 2011

This will be held in Quebec Canada on from 13-16 June 2011, followed by excursions and a workshop on Sphagnum farming. A meeting of Commision X can be held on Tuesday 14 June if sufficient members attend.

14th International Peat Congress Stockholm 2012

This will be held in the City Conference Centre, Stockholm, Sweden from 3-8 June 2012. There will be a Session devoted to tropical peatlands and peat with the following preminary titles:
•    Inventory, survey and monitoring
•    Land use change and impacts of fire
•    Cultural and socio-economic aspects
The is also scope to include papers on tropical peatland in other sessions on climate change, ecology and management of forested peatlands, agriculture and chemical, physical and biological characteristics of peat. Further information is available at: www.ipc2012.se

International meeting on tropical biodiversity and conservation

This important meeting on tropical biodiversity was held in Bali, Indonesia on 19-23 July 2010 organised by the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Research Centre for Biology and the University of Indonesia Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Further information can be found at http://atbc2010.org

At the end of the conference a declaration was issued giving  ’Unequivocal Support for Recent Forest-Conservation Initiatives in Indonesia’ some of which applies to peatland. Further information can be found at http://atbc2010.org/html/declaration.html
In particular, ‘whereas, the rapid destruction and degradation of forests, peat swamps, wetlands, and other habitats is also a major source of atmospheric carbon emissions, contributing significantly to global warming and climatic change’ the declaration:
•    Heartily commends H. E. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his innovative and forward-thinking efforts to promote forest conservation, combat illegal logging, and improve forest monitoring and governance in Indonesia, which have led to illegal logging reportedly declining by 50-75% since 2002; and
•    Congratulates the Government of Indonesia on the agreement initiated by H. E. President Yudhoyono and the Government of Norway to reduce dangerous carbon emissions by funding up to $1 billion in forest-conservation and monitoring initiatives, thereby complementing ongoing efforts to slow deforestation and strengthen protected areas in the country; and
•    Respectfully urges the Indonesian government to implement and maintain the planned two- year moratorium on issuance of new permits for timber, oil palm, and other plantation concessions; to implement this planned moratorium immediately; and to ensure that any further expansion of plantations is restricted to lands without standing forests; and
•    Respectfully requests that all concessions to clear natural forest issued prior to the moratorium be carefully re-evaluated for their biodiversity and carbon values; and
•    Strongly recommends that the Indonesian government reinstate the 2007 ban on clearing of peat forests that was rescinded in 2009, because of the high carbon-storage value of these wetlands; and
•    Respectfully urges the Indonesian government to renew and strengthen its efforts to combat destructive forest fires, which increased by 59% between 2008 and 2009.

WildFire and Carbon Management in Peat Forest In Indonesia

This is a five year project funded by the Japanest Science and Technology Agency (JST) and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), based in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia.

This project, recognising the large amount of carbon stored in peatland in Indonesia and that recent accelerating peatland development are emitting substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere, aims to contribute to mitigating climate change through establishing:
1.    A system for detecting and controlling wildfire
2.    A system for evaluating carbon stock
3.    A system for carbon management and
4.    A system for educuation and training.
Further information can be obtained from: www.census.hokudai.ac.jp/newsletter

Annual Report 2009

This was another eventful year with many members of Commission IX involved in research and/or advice on tropical peat and peatlands. Fire was once again a major hazard in Kalimantan and Sumatra with large areas of peatland damaged. The EU funded research projects carried out under the auspices of EUTROP, STRAPEAT, RESTORPEAT and CARBOPEAT that spanned 11 years from 1998 to 2009 have all been completed. Information on the large range of outputs can be found on the RESTORPEAT and CARBOPEAT websites.

IPS Convention 2010

At the IPS Annual Convention 2010 that will be held in Jyväskylä, Finland from 14 - 18 June there will be opportunity for meetings of IPS Commissions. If sufficient members attend there will be a short meeting of Commission IX to discuss current and future activities.

International meeting on tropical biodiversity and conservation

An important meeting on tropical biodiversity will be held in Bali, Indonesia on 19 - 23 July 2010. This is being organised by the Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) and will be hosted by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences Research Centre for Biology and the University of Indonesia Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences. Further information can be found at http://atbc2010.org/doc/atbc2010_brochure.pdf. 

14th International Peat Congress

We are anticipating a session on tropical peatlands will be held at the 14th International Peat Congress that will be held on 3 - 8 June 2012 in Stockholm. The Congress theme is ”Peatlands in Balance”. At this time we are inviting expressions of interest in presenting at and attending the Congress. Suggestions for sub-sessions would be helpful.

15th International Peat Congress 2016

The IPS Secretariat received two applications to host the 15th International Peat Congress from the National Committees of Latvia and Malaysia. After thorough discussion, the Executive Board recommended to organise this Congress in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia. This was also the recommendation of the Scientific Advisory Board. The final decision will, however, be made at the Annual Assembly 2010 in Jyväskylä, Finland on 16 June 2010. If this important meeting is held in Malaysia it will be a tremendous boost for Commission IX, which will have a key role to play in its organisation.

Promotion for Bambang Setiadi Chairman of the Indonesian Peat Association, Indonesian National Committee of IPS

Dr. Bambang Setiadi, a long time member of the IPS and Chairman of the Indonesian Peat Society was promoted last year by the President of Indonesia to become Chairman of the National Standardization Agency of Indonesia (BSN). As a non-departmental government agency BSN’s main responsibility is to develop and conduct standardization activities in Indonesia. The main objective of standardization is to protect producers, consumers, labour and the public in relation to security, safety, health and environment conservation. Bambang represents Indonesia on the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and was recently elected as chairman of DEVCO, a policy committee of ISO that specifically addresses the needs of developing countries. We wish him well in this important position.

Annual Report 2008

A meeting, attended by 35 persons, to discuss the formation of this new IPS Commission was held in the Hilton Hotel, Kuching Sarawak, Malaysia on Friday 22 August 2008 following the International Symposium and Workshop on Tropical Peatland: Peatland development - Wise Use and Impact Management.

A Steering Committee was established to oversee the activities of
Commission 9 and to prepare a work plan and programme of activities and events for the period up to the next International Peat Congress in Sweden in 2012, consisting of:

The following priority areas were identified: biodiversity, fire, poverty, water management, industry - Wise Use, restoration, spatial planning, and climate change. Climate change was recognized to be the most important area.

Activities of members of this Commission were well represented at the 13th International Peat Congress in Tullamore at which there were 24 oral and 7 poster presentations – 31 in total! A large number of participants were present representing Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.

We now have two IPS National Committees in Southeast Asia, one in Indonesia and the other, recently formed in Malaysia. The Malaysian Peat Society has been approved as the Malaysian National Committee of IPS in early 2009. The Society has currently 49 individual members and one institutional member.

Activities for 2009/2010 are being planned and members of Commission IX will be kept informed.