Jakarta (ANTARA News) -The Indonesian government, through the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) and with the support of David and Lucile Packard Foundation, has launched the Indonesian Peat Prize, a competition to search the best mapping method for peat land.

The prize comprises one million dollar.

"It is important to find a methodology that helps achieve a certainty regarding data management related to Indonesias peat, a requirement for improving the welfare and tackle climate change," Minister of Environment and Forest, Siti Nurbaya, said as she launched the Indonesian Peat Prize, together with the Minister of Environment of Norway at the Climate Festival here on Tuesday.

She said Indonesias peat land area reaches more than 20 million hectares. In the context of climate change, the greatest emissions from forest and land fires come from peat, yet peat is able to store a very large amount of carbon.

Head of BIG, Priyadi Kardono, said the initial idea of the competition followed the forest and land fires spread over 2.1 million hectares in 2015.

In addition, this competition found encouragement, thanks to the commitment of President Joko Widodo at the High-Level Conference on Climate Change Conferences of Parties (COP21) in Paris to address land and forest fires as well as reduce emissions through good management.

BIG has had an indicative map of Indonesias peatland drawn to a scale of 1:250,000. However, according to him, it would be difficult to manage peat land in a better way without a more detailed map drawn to a scale of 1: 5000 to 1: 50,000.

Meanwhile, the Indonesian director of World Resources Institute (WRI), Tjokorda Nirarta Samadhi, said the Indonesian Peat Prize is an ambitious and collaborative competition to arrive at a peat land mapping method which is more accurate and faster to determine the extent and thickness of peat lands in Indonesia.

The peat land management needs to be done properly because carbon emissions from peat decomposition and peat fires account for 42 percent of all emissions in Indonesia.


Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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