Mengenal Bank Karbon Dunia dan Ancamannya

Hari Lahan Basah Sedunia diperingati setiap tanggal 2 Februari. Peringatan ini dilakukan sebagai tindak lanjut kesepakatan dalam Konvensi Ramsar, suatu Konvensi Internasional tentang lahan basah tanggal 2 Februari 1971. Namun, tahukah Sobat Pongo apa yang disebut lahan basah?

Mengenal Lahan Basah dan Gambut

Lahan basah atau wetland adalah wilayah-wilayah di mana tanahnya jenuh dengan air, baik bersifat permanen (menetap) atau musiman. Wilayah-wilayah itu sebagian atau seluruhnya kadang-kadang tergenangi oleh lapisan air yang dangkal. Digolongkan ke dalam lahan basah ini, di antaranya adalah rawa-rawa (termasuk rawa bakau), payau, dan gambut. Air yang menggenangi lahan basah dapat tergolong ke dalam air tawar, payau, atau asin. Nah.. golongan lahan basah yang akan kita bahas selanjutnya adalah gambut.

Gambut adalah jenis lahan basah yang kaya akan material organik, terbentuk dari akumulasi pembusukan bahan-bahan organik selama ribuan tahun. Secara keseluruhan luas lahan gambut hanya merupakan 3% dari luas wilayah bumi, namun lahan gambut merupakan ekosistem terestrial yang paling efisien dalam menyerap karbon. Lahan gambut menyimpan setidaknya 30% dari karbon tanah secara global dan 75% dari seluruh karbon di atmosfer.

Lahan Gambut Indonesia Saat Ini

Berdasar data Global Wetlands, luas wilayah gambut Indonesia sekitar 22,5 juta hektare (ha) dan berada di ranking kedua terluas di dunia setelah Brazil. Hal ini patut disyukuri mengingat gambut memiliki peran penting bagi ekosistem, diantaranya :

  1. Sebagai bank karbon pengatur perubahan iklim

Lahan gambut menyumbang hanya 3% dari luas daratan di seluruh dunia, namun kemampuannya dalam menyerap karbon sangat besar. Lahan gambut menyimpan 550 gigaton karbon atau setara dengan 30% karbon yang tersimpan di tanah di dunia.

Karbon menjadi salah satu gas rumah kaca yang berperan dalam proses perubahan iklim. Adanya “bank karbon” ini, dapat membantu memperlambat proses perubahan iklim karena karbon dapat disimpan di dalamnya, sehingga tidak terlepas ke atmosfer.

2. Sebagai “spons” untuk mencegah banjir

Kehadiran lahan gambut tidak hanya berfungsi untuk menyimoan karbon, namun juga memiliki kemampuan seperti sebuah spons, yakni menyerap air dalam jumlah banya melalui sifatnya yang hydrophysical, yaitu daya serap yang tinggi sehingga mampu menampung air sebesar 450-850% dari bobot keringnya atau hingga 90% dari volumenya.

3. Habitat untuk perlindungan keanekaragaman hayati

Lahan gambut merupakan habitat yang baik bagi berbagai macam flora dan fauna. Berbagai jenis flora dan fauna hanya dapat tumbuh dan berkembang dengan baik di lahan gambut sehingga degradasi yang terjadi di lahan gambut akan berdampak pada hilangnya keanekaragaman hayati. 

Beberapa jenis hewan langka yang bisa kita jumpai di lahan gambut antara lain adalah buaya sinyulong, macan sumatra, beruang madu, tapir, dan sejenis angsa sayap putih. Sementara itu, tanaman yang paling banyak dijumpai di hutan gambut Kalimantan dan beberapa wilayah Sumatra adalah ramin, yaitu sejenis kayu mewah yang biasanya digunakan untuk bahan pembuatan furnitur.

Ancaman lahan gambut

Dibalik segudang peran yang dipegang lahan gambut, ternyata lahan gambut juga harus “berperang’ dengan ancaman nyata yang semakin masif terjadi akhir-akhir ini. Beberapa ancaman lahan gambut yang berpotensi merusak keanekaragaman hayati sekaligus mengganggu aktivitas manusia diantaranya :

unsplash.com
  1. Alih fungsi lahan gambut

Lahan gambut seringkali dianggap sebagai lahan yang tidak berguna dan lahan terbuang yang dapat dikeringkan dan dialihfungsikan. Anggapan ini telah menjadi salah satu penyebab utama degradasi dan kerusakan lahan gambut, terutama dalam perubahan tata guna lahan untuk pertanian dan perkebunan.

2. Pengeringan lahan gambut

Kekeringan di lahan gambut dapat disebabkan oleh faktor alam dan manusia. Perubahan iklim telah menyebabkan musim kemarau yang lebih panjang sehingga air di ekosistem gambut mudah surut dan lama-kelamaan menjadi kering.

Dalam skala kecil, lahan gambut yang kering dapat kembali basah dengan bantuan hujan atau sumber air yang lain. Namun, ketika pengeringan dilakukan secara masif, lahan gambut yang kering sengaja dicegah untuk basah kembali agar bisa dikonversi menjadi perkebunan.

Dampak negatif keringnya lahan gambut tidak berhenti sampai di situ saja. Ketika lahan gambut berada dalam keadaan kering, tanaman dan semak belukar di atasnya, dan lahan gambut itu sendiri, akan lebih mudah terbakar (baik karena kemarau panjang atau sengaja dibakar untuk membuka lahan), dan mengeluarkan banyak CO2 yang tersimpan dalam gambut sehingga mempercepat peningkatan suhu bumi yang berakibat pada perubahan iklim.

3. Pembalakan liar di lahan gambut

Tanpa tutupan pohon, lahan gambut langsung terpapar cahaya matahari. Material karbon di dalam lahan gambut menjadi kering dan ketinggian tanah semakin berkurang. Oksigen yang mulai bersirkulasi mengubah karbon menjadi karbon dioksida dan terlepas ke udara sehingga mempercepat laju kenaikan suhu bumi dan menimbulkan dampak negatif bagi kehidupan di bumi.

Setelah mengetahui pentingnya lahan gambut menjaga eksistensi flora dan fauna, sekaligus berperan dalam pengatur karbon untuk memperlambat proses perubahan iklim, maka kita sebagai masyarakat umum setidaknya dapat berperan dalam pencegahan perusakan lahan gambut lebih luas dengan mengedukasi diri sendiri dan orang di sekitar mengenai manfaat dan ancaman lahan gambut saat ini. Tanpa peran serta berbagai pihak, luas lahan gambut yang hanya 3% dari luas daratan di seluruh dunia ini dapat berkurang terus menerus.

Sumber

Global Petlands. (2021). Disadur dari https://www2.cifor.org/global-wetlands/

Hari Lahan Basah Sedunia. (2018). Diakses dari Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan Republik Indonesia: www.menlhk.go.id

Pantau Gambut. (2021). Diakses dari www.pantaugambut.id

Salim, E. (n.d.). MEMBANGUN KALIMANTAN SELATAN SECARA BERKELANJUTAN. Diakses dari Madani: https://madaniberkelanjutan.id/

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