In November 2004, soil scientist Henk Wösten had cause to celebrate: he’d been awarded 1.5 million euros by the European Union for his proposal for a project called Restorpeat to study the potential for restoring peat swamp forests in Asia.
The EU’s choice of Wösten’s project was not unexpected, as his research team had just completed a four-year study of the state of tropical peat swamp forests for the EU. ‘Yet it felt like recognition’, Wösten says, ‘a signal that we’d done our work well. And with this followup project we could contribute to finding a solution.’
Indonesia, Malaysia and, to a lesser extent, Vietnam, are faced with a major problem: they emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases. Indonesia is in third place on the list of countries responsible for the largest emissions – only China and the US contribute more to the greenhouse effect. Indonesia’s high ranking is not so much because of massive use of fossil fuel but because so much peat swamp forest has been converted into land for agriculture. The same is true for Malaysia.
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Recent projects and publications by Henk Wösten