THE VIABILITY OF THE PEATLANDS, according to some, lies in our ability to develop non-destructive crops that are either native to that ecosystem or that can easily grow there without any draining. We spoke to Rukaiyah Rafiq an activist in Jambi City who advocates the farming of peatland crops other than oil palm, and to Muhammad Nur who oversees a restored peatland forest in Riau.
RUKAIYAH RAFIQ→ The market to sell palm oil is always there when the farmers plant palm trees. It's easy for farmers to send the fruit clusters. The oil palm industry is everywhere. The big challenge is to create similar market conditions for other types of plant products. This could help to stop forest fires, deforestation.
The coffee that grows in the peatland is of a different type. This coffee is not Robusta or Arabica, it is called Liberica, Liberica Komposit. They are grown in the peatlands and they are physically different from other types of coffee, such as Arabica and Robusta. Robusta has smaller fruits and more of them are on the stem, Liberica's fruits are more spread out and bigger. The leaves are wider than the other varieties but the growing rate is slower than Robusta, because they have more leaves.
MUHAMMAD NUR→ The trees that we plant in this timber farm, this peat forest, are jelutung, bentangor, meranti bakau, geronggang, mempisang wood is what the village people call it here. There are approximately eight types of timber here. There are several types of woods that grow on peatland especially this one next to me is Meranti Bakau. The wood of Meranti Bakau is so hard that people also call it Stone Meranti because it is as hard as a rock, so many people build their homes using meranti bakau wood, also called punak wood in this area.