The Socioeconomic Conditions of Tropical Peat Farmers: A Case Study in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
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Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Palangka Raya, Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Palangka Raya, Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Andrie Elia   

University of Palangka Raya, Jalan Yos Sudarso, Palangka Raya, Indonesia
Submission date: 2022-03-31
Final revision date: 2022-05-10
Acceptance date: 2022-05-14
Online publication date: 2022-08-05
Publication date: 2022-09-28
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2022;31(5):4603–4610
Peatlands, as a type of ecosystem, are widely accepted to contribute to biodiversity, climate regulation, and human well-being. In comparison, it is reported that mismanagement of peatlands has resulted in a decline in environmental quality. To overcome this obstacle, the government should continue to investigate various cultivating strategies that allow for rapid propagation in order to accomplish the peatland restoration goal as efficiently as possible. However, due to the involvement in land restoration operations that initially met with little support from peatland farmers, their socioeconomic situation warranted further investigation. Therefore, this study examined the socioeconomic values associated with agricultural operations. This study employed a qualitative descriptive method and was conducted in Tumbang Nusa Village, Jabiren Raya Regency, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, a region prone to peatland fires. The data were collected via interviews with 45 key informants. Land ownership, plant species, farmer motivations, farmer income, the value of forests to peatland farmers, and their understanding of peatlands and management were all collected. The findings indicate that successful peatland cultivation and management have benefited the farmer community. Land tenure is divided into two categories for peatland farmers: those derived from a 2-hectare transmigration quota and those acquired through a sale process. They, in general, have a firm grasp on peatlands and how to manage them, despite past failures due to ineffective techniques. They grow both short- and long-term plants, with the majority motivated by a desire to increase income from peatland cultivation and management. They earn between USD 2,277 and USD 7,286.4 per year from agricultural and non-agricultural products, placing them in the category of high-income individuals. While farmers from Java and indigenous people manage peatlands differently, they share a common goal: preventing peatland fires so they can continue to reap the economic benefits of land management through farming. Finally, they believe that the forest is necessary for survival, believing that peatland forests must be protected in order to survive. However, this study demonstrates that they continue to require guidance and assistance with sustainable peatland management that takes into account the socioeconomic functions of peatlands, strikes a balance between environmental protection and local community development, and employs cutting-edge technologies. Finally, the implications of the study are discussed, along with several recommendations for future research.