Assessing the effects of water flow patterns on dam construction in degraded tropical peatlands


  • Adi Jaya Faculty of Agriculture, University of Palangka Raya
  • Franssico H.R.H. Baru Faculty of Engineering, University of Palangka Raya
  • Alderina Rosalia Nahan Faculty of Engineering, University of Palangka Raya
  • Salampak Dohong Faculty of Agriculture, University of Palangka Raya



canal blocking, hydraulic test, physical modelling


Tropical peat swamp forest becomes degraded through forest removal and drainage, usually followed by land use change and fire. Restoration of the degraded peatland requires rewetting, which involves canal blocking and water level management. The purpose of canal blocking is to rewet the peat so that peat-forming trees can re-establish or crops be grown with minimal greenhouse gas emissions and peat subsidence. In addition, wet peat is more fire resistant than degraded dry peat. Canal construction faces several technical problems, including stress that causes bending, water seepage under the dam, and erosion of peat by water forcing its way around the sides when the water level upstream exceeds the dam height. This research examined the behaviour of water flows in canals in peatland in Central Kalimantan after blocking with dams of different designs. This study used a survey method and hydraulic physical model test with a horizontal scale of 1:30 and a vertical scale of 1:10. Field measurements were carried out on the primary canal of the former Mega Rice Project (MRP) Block C to build a physical model test prototype for laboratory research, includes measurement of cross-sections, canal length and water flow for a distance of 100 metres upstream and downstream of the construction. The test included three types of the physical model, reviewed for the effect of flow patterns caused by flood discharge frequencies of 5, 25, 50 and 100 years. The effects of flow patterns on canal dam construction in peatland were obtained from the physical model test.


Anda, M., Ritung. S., Suryani, E., Sukarman, Hikmat, M., Yatno, E., Mulyani, A., Subandiono, R.E., Suratman, and Husnain. 2021. Revisiting tropical peatlands in Indonesia: Semi-detailed mapping, extent and depth distribution assessment. Geoderma 402:115235, doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2021.115235.

Anshari, G.Z. 2005. Carbon decline from peatlands and its implications on livelihood security of local communities. In: Carbon Forestry: Who Will Benefit? Proceedings of workshop on carbon sequestration and sustainable livelihoods held in Bogor, Indonesia, 16-17 February, 2005 (pp. 112-123). Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

Boiten, W. 2003. Hydrometry. IHE Delft Lecture Note Series. AA Balkema Publishers. 248p.

Canadell, J.G., Le Quere, C., Raupach, M.R., Field, C.B., Buiten-huis, E.T., Ciais, P., Conway, T.J, Gillett, N.P., Houghton, R.A. and Marland, G. 2007. Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104:18866-18870.

Dohong, A. and Lilia. 2008. Hydrology restoration of ex Mega Rice Project Central Kalimantan through canal blocking technique: lessons learned and steps forward. In: Wosten, J.H.M., Rieley, J.O., Page, S.E. (eds.) Restoration of Tropical Peatland, ALTERRA-Wageningen University and Research Centre and the EU INCO-RESTOPEAT Partnership, Wageningen, pp 125-130.

Dohong, A. and Tanika, L. 2021. Hydrological Management Practices. In: Osaki, M., Tsuji, N., Foead, N. and Rieley, J. (Eds). Tropical Peatland Eco-management. Springer Nature. 817p.

Dohong, A., Cassiophea, L., Sutikno, S., Triadi, B.L., Wirada, F., Rengganis, P. and Sigalingging, L. 2017. Community Based Canal Blocking Peat Wetting Infrastructure Development Training Module. Indonesian Peat Restoration Agency, 72p (in Indonesian).

Evans, C.D., Williamsona, J.M., Kacaribu, F., Irawan, D., Suardiwerianto, Y., Fikky Hidayat, M.F., Laurén, A. and Page, S.E. 2019. Rates and spatial variability of peat subsidence in Acacia plantation and forest landscapes in Sumatra, Indonesia. Geoderma 338:410-421, doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2018.12.028.

Evers, S., Yule, C.M., Padfield, R., O'Reilly, P. and Varkkey, H. 2016. Keep wetlands wet: the myth of sustainable development of tropical peatlands–implications for policies and management. Global Change Biology 23(2):534-549, doi:10.1111/gcb.13422.

Hooijer, A., Page, S.E., Jauhiainen, J., Lee, W.A., Lu, X.X., Idris, A. and Anshari, G. 2012. Subsidence and carbon loss in drained tropical peatlands. Biogeosciences 9:1053-1071, doi:10.5194/bg-9-1053-2012.

Joosten, H. 2015. Peatlands, climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation: An issue brief on the importance of peatlands for carbon and biodiversity conservation and the role of drained peatlands as greenhouse gas emission hotspots (Vol. 2015727). Nordic Council of Ministers.

Kamiana, I.M. 2010. Water Building Plan Discharge Calculation Technique. Graha Ilmu, Yogyakarta (in Indonesian).

Kelly, T.J., Baird, A.J., Roucoux, K.H., Baker, T.R., Honorio Coronado, E.N., Ríos, M. and Lawson, I.T., 2014. The high hydraulic conductivity of three wooded tropical peat swamps in northeast Peru: measurements and implications for hydrological function. Hydrological Processes 28(9):3373-3387, doi:10.1002/hyp.9884.

Limin, S., Yunsiska, E., Kusin, K. and Alim S. 2007 Restoration of hydrology status as the key to rehabilitation of damaged peatland in Central Kalimantan. Carbon-climate-human interaction on tropical peatland. Proceedings of the International Symposium and Workshop on Tropical Peatland, Yoyakarta, Indonesia, 27-29.

Marlier, M.E., DeFries, R.S., Voulgarakis, A., Kinney, P.L., Randerson, J.T., Shindell, D.T., Chen, Y. and Faluvegi, G. 2013. El Niño and health risks from landscape fire emissions in southeast Asia. Nature Climate. Change 3(2):131-136, doi:10.1038/nclimate1658.

Miettinen, J., Shi, C. and Liew S.C. 2017. Fire distribution in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo in 2015 with special emphasis on peatland fires. Environmental Management 60: 747-757.

Moiseenko, T.I. 2005. Effects of acidification on aquatic ecosystems. Russian Journal of Ecology 36(2):93-102.

Morrogh-Bernard, H., Husson, S., Page, S.E. and Rieley, J.O. 2003. Population status of the Bornean orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus) in the Sebangau peat swamp forest, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Biological Conservation 110:141-152, doi:10.1016/S0006-3207(02)00186-6.

Noyaa, A.I. Ghulamahdi, M., Sopandie, D., Sutandi, A. and Melati, M. 2014. Effect of water level depth and ameliorant on soybean productivity in acid sulfate land. Jurnal Pangan 23(2):120-132, doi:10.33964/jp.v23i2.56 (in Indonesian).

Orangutan Project. 2010. Annual report, 2010, the orang-utan tropical peatland project, Palangka Raya, Indonesia.

Page, S.E., Hoscio, A., Wösten, H., Jauhiainen, J., Silvius, M., Rieley, J., Ritzema, H., Tansey, K., Graham, L., Vasander, H. and Limin, S. 2009. Restoration ecology of lowland tropical peatlands in Southeast Asia: current knowledge and future research directions. Ecosystems 12:888-905.

Page, S.E., Rieley, J.O. and Banks, C.J. 2011. Global and regional importance of the tropical peatland carbon pool. Global Change Biology 17:798-818, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2010.02279.x.

Pan Y., Birdsey, R.A., Phillips, O.L. and Jackson, R.B. 2013. The structure, distribution, and biomass of the World's Forests. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 44:593-622, doi:10.1146/annurev-ecolsys-110512-135914.

Panda, A., deVries, B.R., Rosidi, M., Simon, O., Ansori, M. and Kasih, R.C. 2012. Rewetting the Sebangau Peatland Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Wild Fire and Carbon Management in Peat-Forest in Indonesia, Palangka Raya, Indonesia, 22–24

Posa, M.R.C., Wijedasa, L.S. and Corlett, R.T. 2011. Biodiversity and conservation of tropical peat swamp forests. Bioscience 61:49-57, doi:10.1525/bio.2011.61.1.10.

Purnomo, E.P., Ramdani, R., Agustiyara, A., Tomaro, Q.P.V. and Samidjo, G.S. 2019. Land ownership transformation before and after forest fires in Indonesian palm oil plantation areas. Journal of Land Use Science 14(1):37-51, doi:10.1080/1747423X.2019.1614686.

Putra, S.S., Holden, J. and Baird, A.J. 2021. The effects of ditch dams on waterâ€level dynamics in tropical peatlands. Hydrological Processes 35(5):e14174, doi:10.1002/hyp.14174.

Rieley, J.O. and Page, S. 2016. Tropical peatland of the world. In: Osaki, M. and Tsuji, N. (eds). Tropical Peatland Ecosystems (pp. 3-32). Springer, Tokyo.

Ritzema, H., Limin, S., Kusin, K., Jauhiainen, J. and Wösten, H. 2014. Canal blocking strategies for hydrological restoration of degraded tropical peatlands in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Catena 114:11-20, doi:10.1016/j.catena.2013.10.009.

Saputra, E., Sutikno, S. and Yusa, M. 2021. Hydraulic model for analysis of the effectiveness of canal blocking in peatlands. Jurnal Teknik 15(1):76-84 (in Indonesian).

Schimelpfenig, D.W., Cooper, D.J. and Chimner, R.A. 2014. Effectiveness of ditch blockage for restoring hydrologic and soil processes in mountain peatlands. Restoration Ecology 22(2):257-265, doi:10.1111/rec.12053.

Silvius, M. and Diemont, H. 2007. Peatlands, climate change, poverty, biofuels, pulp and reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation. Institute for Environmental Studies.

Simanungkalit, P., Sadikin, N., Diaksa, A., Yakubson, and Nahan, M.R. 2018. Application of Canal Blocking as an Effort to Restore Degraded Peatlands in the Ex-PLG Area of Central Kalimantan Province. Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing Research and Development Agency Center for Research and Development of Water Resources. 79p (in Indonesian).

SNI 1724.2015. Analysis of hydrology, hydraulics, and building design criteria on the river. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 2415. 2016. The procedure for calculating the planned flood discharge. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 3409. 2008. The procedure for measuring flow velocity in the physical hydraulic model test with a pitot tube. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 3410. 2008. The procedure for measuring flow patterns in physical models. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 3411. 2008. The procedure for measuring water level in physical models. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 3965. 2008. The procedure for making a physical model of a river with a fixed base. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

SNI 8066. 2015. The procedure for measuring the flow of rivers and open channels using current measuring devices and buoys. National Standardization Agency, Jakarta (in Indonesian).

Sunarto, S., Kelly, M.J., Parakkasi, K., Klenzendorf, S., Septayuda, E. and Kurniawan, H. 2012. Tigers need cover: multi-scale occupancy study of the big cat in forest and plantation landscapes. PLoS One 7(1):p.e30859, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030859.

Suryadiputra, I.N.N., Dohong, A., Waspodo, R.S.B., Muslihat, L., Lubis, I.R., Hasudungan, F. and Wibisono, I.T.C. 2005. Panduan Penyekatan Parit dan Saluran di Lahan Gambut Bersama Masyarakat. Proyek Climate Change, Forests and Peatlands in Indonesia. Wetlands International – Indonesia Programme and Wildlife Habitat Canada. Bogor.

Sutikno, S., Nasrul, B., Gunawan, H., Jayadi, R., Saputra, E. and Yamamoto, K. 2019. The effectiveness of canal blocking for hydrological restoration in tropical peatland. MATEC Web of Conferences 276:06003. EDP Sciences.

Suyanto, S., Khususiyah, N., Sardi, I., Buana, Y. and van Noordwijk, M. 2009. Analysis of local livelihoods from past to present in the Central Kalimantan ex-Mega Rice Project area. World Agroforestry Centre, Bogor.

Vitt, D.H. and Short, P. 2020. Peatlands (pp. 27-36). CRC Press.

Wildayana, E. 2017. Challenging constraints of livelihoods for farmers in the South Sumatra Peatlands, Indonesia. Bulgarian Journal of Agricultural Science 23(6): 894-905.

Wösten, H., Hooijer, A., Siderius, C., Rais, D.S., Idris, A. and Rieley, J. 2006. Tropical peatland water management modelling of the Air Hitam Laut catchment in Indonesia. International Journal of River Basin Management 4(4):233-244, doi:10.1080/ 15715124.2006.9635293.

Xu, J., Morris, P.J., Liu, J. and Holden, J. 2018. PEATMAP: Refining estimates of global peatland distribution based on a meta-analysis. Catena 160:134-140, doi:10.1016/j.catena.2017.09.010.








How to Cite

Jaya, A., Baru, F. H., Nahan, A. R., & Dohong, S. (2022). Assessing the effects of water flow patterns on dam construction in degraded tropical peatlands. Journal of Degraded and Mining Lands Management, 10(1), 4019–4033.



Research Article