PEAT


Poor peat land management is main cause of annual forest fires:CIFOR

The Jakarta Post
Wednesday, March 12, 2003


JAKARTA (JP):The main cause of Indonesia’s annual forest fires that blanket the archipelago and its neighbours in haze is poor peat land management, a report issued by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)said on Tuesday.

CIFOR’s latest report, titled “Fires in Indonesia: Causes, Costs and Policy Implications,” was compiled by Luca Tacconi and funded by the European Commission.

It concludes that better state management of peat lands will help eliminate the main cause of smoke and haze in Indonesia. “Much of the fire and smoke problem could be overcome if peat lands were better managed,” said Tacconi.

“The fact is, if degraded peat lands are not rehabilitated and appropriate measures are not enforced to protect intact ones, there is little chance the region’s smoke haze problem will cease anytime soon,” it said as cited by DPA news agency.

Peat lands, which are common in Indonesia’s giant islands of Sumatra and Kalimantan – the two main hotspots for annual forest fires – store carbon that is released into the atmosphere when the peat burns.

According to the CIFOR report, more than 2 million hectares of lowland forest burnt during 1998 in East Kalimantan alone. It also shows that 11.7 million hectares of Indonesia’s forest and land were destroyed by fire in 1997-98, when the haze problem first attracted world attention and regional
condemnation.


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