Peatland subsidence and vegetation cover degradation as impacts of the 2015 El niño event revealed by Sentinel-1A SAR data

Mokhamad Yusup Nur Khakim, Akhmad Aminuddin Bama, Indra Yustian, Pradanto Poerwono, Takeshi Tsuji, Toshifumi Matsuoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Indonesia has the world's largest tropical peatland, mostly located in the southern province of Sumatra, the south of Kalimantan, and Papua. The catastrophic fires between June and October 2015 induced by the El Niño event burnt most of these peatland areas. We analyzed spatio-temporal peat subsidence during pre- and post-fires in the peat hydrological unit of Sungai Sugihan – Sungai Saleh (KHGSS), South Sumatra using Sentinel-1 images by applying DInSAR-SBAS algorithm. Based on our analysis, the linear subsidence rate after the 2015 peat fires increased by a factor 6.4 compared to that of pre-fires. Generally, the estimated subsidence is temporally well-correlated with the precipitation variation. In addition, the subsidence patterns are spatially correlated with the hotspot distribution, peat thickness, and drainage networks. Furthermore, we mapped vegetation cover over the KHGSS by using the Sentinel-1 images as well. The results show that the vegetation degradation is correlated with the hotspot distribution and the highly-degraded vegetation associated with the 2015 peat fires. It demonstrated that the 2015 El Niño event has significant impacts on increasing the amount of the subsidence and the vegetation degradation in KHGSS area.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101953
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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