climateandcapitalism.com
Bog Barons: Indonesia's Carbon Catastrophe
By Fred Pearce From New Scientist, December 1, 2007 I am standing in the heart of the world's second largest tropical peat swamp, the Kampar bog in central Sumatra, watching the swamp's water drain away along a small canal. Across the western side of the bog there are dozens more drains. The peat bog is bleeding to death before me. Until five years ago, Kampar was a true bog with water at the surface, and it was covered by a rich rainforest in which Sumatran tigers roamed. A huge dome of peat, up to 15 metres deep, had built up over the past 6000 years as woody debris fell into the swamp. It contains several billion tonnes of carbon. Now this part of the Kampar bog has been clear-felled, and the canals have been installed to turn it into plantations. As water levels fall beneath the blackened and treeless wasteland, the peat is drying and decomposing, releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere per square kilometre than do many cities. I watched as workers planted acacia trees