Pekanbaru, Riau (ANTARA) - Representatives from 14 countries and several international institutions visited Riau to learn about the management of its peatland ecosystem.

"After attending an international workshop on the protection and management of peatland ecosystems, they visited Siak district to see firsthand how peat is handled there," Riau Governor Syamsuar informed here on Tuesday.

He said he was proud that Riau province was selected as the destination for the workshop. He added that it was part of the Environment and Forestry Ministry’s initiative under which it brought experts from various countries to Riau.

The experts got to observe how Riau handles peatlands, the governor said. As part of one of the activities during their visit, they witnessed the method of building canals to prevent peat soil from burning.

"This momentum brings positive indications for increasing understanding, concern, and the involvement of all community and stakeholders in Indonesia and in friendly countries in efforts to manage peat ecosystems," he said.

Riau province has a variety of natural resources that are processed into oil, coal, palm oil derivatives, and coconuts, among other things, he pointed out.

Riau’s natural resource potential and strategic position need to be utilized as optimally as possible for the community’s welfare while maintaining the function of the environment as a life-supporting system.

Meanwhile, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya Bakar, who joined the workshop virtually, said that Indonesia has been regulating peatland management since 1990, but the forest and land fires that occurred in 2015 became a turning point for the nation to formulate peatland management policies.

Another turning point was the unification of the Environment Ministry and the Forestry Ministry, which allowed rule-making and policy implementation to be integrated into one ministry.

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Translator: Frislidia, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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