Pembentukan dan Karakteristik Gambut Tropika Indonesia
Tropical peat is formed through a process of paludification of biomass from dead plants. The strong dominance of organic matter that makes up tropical peat results in different characteristics of peat soil versus mineral soil, so that its management for agriculture is specific and needs prudence. Peat soil formation takes thousands of years through a very diverse process from one place to another. Peat formation in Indonesia is estimated to occur about 6800-4200 years ago.
The rate of peat formation varies from 0.05mm per year to 0.50mm per year in primary forest conditions. When the forest is cleared and the soil drained, subsidence occurs rapidly due to decomposition and compaction, far exceeding the rate of its formation. Specific characteristics of peat soils that distinguish from mineral soils are generally:
- prone to irreversible drying
- prone to subsidence
- low bulk density and bearing capacity of the soil against pressure
- high water retention capacity
- high organic matter and carbon contents
- low nutrient content and fertility
- low pH
Therefore, using peat for agriculture is generally more problematic than using mineral soil, as it requires more input and more complex water management models as well as the possibility of negative impacts on the environment.