Revegetation is the process of establishing a vegetation cover on degraded areas of tropical peatlands now dominated by invasive species of ferns and sedges. The most suitable species to plant in rewetted areas are those belonging to the original peat swamp forest flora. 

Different approaches may be taken to revegetation, depending on the level of forest degradation that has occurred. If remnants of original peat swamp forest remain in the area, hydrological rehabilitation may sometimes be sufficient for the forest to regenerate naturally, provided that the area is then protected against logging and fires. Sometimes assisted natural regeneration methods (ANR) might be used too, such as weeding. However, if few trees remain, seed dispersal is low and environmental conditions have become too extreme to allow germination, then enrichment or total re-planting may be required.

Whereas rewetting can be achieved relatively quickly, revegetation can take much longer, depending on the desired end-state, which could be a fully-grown forest to store carbon, a productive agro-forestry plantation, or combinations of these. A range of agroforestry options are available, depending on the management objectives and site-specific conditions such as hydrology, peat characteristics, current land use and land-use policy, land tenure, and the priority given to conservation or protection.

The fire history, the degree of flooding, and the overall level of forest degradation, determine which tree species can be utilized in forest restoration. In all cases, both revegetation and assisted natural regeneration are best done using well-adapted endemic wetland species. In protected areas, species that are of ecological importance should also be included in the mix of species. In other areas, where it may be important to contribute to local livelihoods, useful species that belong to the original peat swamp forest flora may be planted to provide economic benefits for local communities.

Revegetation and forest restoration programs can now utilize more than eighty peat swamp forest species of potential economic importance to local communities. The cultivation of these swamp species on rewetted peat is called ‘paludiculture’. Paludiculture crops mostly consist of productive tree species selected from Indonesian peat swamp forests that do not require drainage. 

Some commonly known examples include jelutung, sago palm, and rattan. Many other less commonly known paludiculture crops still require further support in order to develop market supply chains, and to overcome regulatory barriers such as those established to curb timber harvest from natural forests.

In almost all cases, developing sustainable value chains for peat-friendly products and improving the access to markets is still required to prove the economic value of the peat swamp forest species and enhance the management of biomass on peatlands. Support is certainly needed for the development of new marketable products including capacity and technical development, and upscaling.