Restoring peatlands is nearly always starts by repairing the damage to hydrology done by drainage. In response to major peat fires in Indonesia, we piloted the partial rewetting of 60,000 hectares of drained and degraded peatlands in the Ex-Mega Rice Project area in Central Kalimantan (Borneo), using our practical experience to develop ditch-blocking manuals that guided community-level action. By blocking drainage canals, we restored water levels and avoided annual peat decomposition emissions of about 2.5 million tonnes of CO2. This further reduced the risk of fires and decreased emissions from an additional 250,000 hectares of peatlands.

This success increased the awareness of peatland issues and capacity for restoration in Indonesia and led to the ambition of the government to create an entire agency the Indonesia Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) to upscale restoration efforts. We currently help guide their work through technical advice on 14 hydrological units of the peatland scape.