Indonesia’s peatlands contain huge amounts of carbon – around 57 gigatons of CO2, equivalent to 21 months of all emissions from global energy use.

Aceh has three large areas of peatland forests, Tripa, Kluet and Singkil, along its western coastline, all within the Leuser Ecosystem. As well as their outsize role in carbon storage, these swampy areas protect against storms and are home to more than one in ten of the world’s remaining Sumatran orangutans. As in other parts of Indonesia, Aceh’s peatlands have been heavily deforested despite laws that should prevent this. With support from LEAF and other funders, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) is working with the Acehnese government to establish a long-term management plan for peatlands and accompanying institutional framework. With its deep expertise in forest monitoring, YEL is analysing patterns of land use in detail, including that around dozens of peatland villages. This understanding will enable government partners to pinpoint critical areas for conservation, and delineate them from areas more suitable for development.