Chapter 3.3 Illegal logging in peat forests

Ideal conditions can be observed in peatland areas that remain wet throughout the year. Unfortunately, frequent illegal logging dries out the carbon material in peatlands and causes a dip in the ground elevation. Illegal logging has negative impacts on human life and other biodiversity.

Illegal logging causes peat to dry. © WRI

The density of the forest affects the sustainability of peatlands. Ideally, the forest cover keeps the peatlands wet throughout the year by reducing evaporation, among other things. This slows down the process of decomposition and locks in the soil carbon.

After large scale forest clearing, loggers often dig a ditch to help transport chunks of wood from the forest to the river, causing the water stored in the peatland to flow out.

With a sparse forest canopy, the peatlands are directly exposed to sunlight. The carbon in the peatlands dries up and the soil depth decreases. Exposure to atmospheric oxygen converts carbon into carbon dioxide and releases it into the air, thereby, causing a rise in the earth's temperature and negatively impacting life on Earth.