Peat plays an important role in supplementing the economy of the surrounding communities. The plants and animals in peatland landscapes are a source of food and income for the locals. This explains why maintaining peatlands also sustains the economy of peatland communities.
Peatland communities rely heavily on peatlands to carry out various economic activities such as tending livestock, catching fish, and cultivating farmlands The peatland ecosystem is also suitable for breeding several species of fish, such as gabus, toman, jelawat, tapah, Siamese catfish, dumbo catfish, and tilapia.
Cultivating farmlands on peatlands can bring economic value, but its implementation must take into account peat-friendly principles.
Plants of high economic value that can grow well on peatlands without drainage is called paludiculture plants. Examples of paludiculture plants include purun (Eleocharis dulcis), kale or water spinach (Ipomoea aquatica), gaharu (Aquilaria beccariana), sago (Metroxylon sago), and eucalyptus (Melaleuca cajuputi).
Purun, a paludiculture plant, is a type of grass belonging to the Cyperaceae family. Peatland communities such as the one living in Ogan Komering Ilir hold a long tradition of weaving purun into mats, hats, baskets, bags, baskets, and others.
Draining peatlands can disrupt water availability for the local communities; during the dry season they can no longer breed fish or get an adequate supply of water. On the other hand, peat drainage also results in the loss of water catchment areas and can cause catastrophic flooding in residential areas around peatlands during the rainy season.
In addition, draining peatlands also makes peatlands prone to fires in the dry season. When peat fires occur, the smoke disrupts the health of the people living around peatlands, outside peatlands, and even to neighboring countries. Incidents like this prevent people living around peatlands from carrying out their daily activities, including earning a living.