Relational and instrumental values of tropical peat landscapes: morality and political ecology in Indonesia

Use of tropical peatlands as the last frontier for migrant-dependent expansion of industrial agriculture has become problematic, as drainage of peatlands increases fire risk. Haze and health costs attract high-level policy attention. Repairing damage by rewetting requires collective action that is hard to achieve, with a lack of dedicated institutions at the relevant scale. Realistic solutions may require the blending of insights of resource ecology and economics, political ecology and ecological politics, and sociality research and anthropology. The moral underpinnings of the management of hydrological units with peatlands as their core are diverse. Migrant farming communities express mostly instrumental values of (modified) peat landscapes, while for people with long histories of living in the margins of peatlands, threats to their resource claims and ways of living are expressed in a ‘sense of place’, as relational value. Holistic appreciation of relational and instrumental values of tropical peat landscapes is still needed.
  • Authors: Abdurrahim, A.Y., Dharmawan, A.H., Adiwibowo, S., Yogaswara, H., van Noordwijk, M.
  • Author Affiliation: IPB University, National Research and Innovation Agency, Brawijaya University, World Agroforestry Centre, Wageningen University
  • Subjects: peat, landscape, sustainable development, impact assessment, policy analysis, ecosystem services
  • Publication type: Journal Article, ISI
  • Source: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 64: 101318
  • Year: 2023
  • DOI:
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Republic of Indonesia Republic of the Congo Democratic Republic of the Congo Republic of Peru
Coordinating partners
Ministry of Environment and Forestry Republic of Indonesia CIFOR UN Environment FAO