Indonesia: Integrated Forest Fire Management Project in East Kalimantan (IFFN No. 14 – January 1996)


Integrated Forest Fire ManagementProject
in East Kalimantan

(IFFN No. 14 – January 1996, p. 29-30)

    The “Integrated Forest Fire Management Project” is a bilateral technical cooperation project between the governments of Indonesia and Germany. The project is administered by the Ministry of Forestry (MoF) of Indonesia through the forest authorities in the Province of East Kalimantan (Kanwil and Dinas Kehutanan) and assisted by the German Agency for Technical Cooperation (GTZ). It is scheduled for a period of six years. The first three-year pilot-phase began in April 1994. The second three-year phase as well as a financial grant will be negotiated in 1996 and executed in 1997.

    The Forest Fire Problem in Borneo:
    For more than two decades the island of Borneo has had a serious forest fire problem. In 1982/83 the largest forest fire of the century burned for several months through Kalimantan and Malaysia, affecting more than 5 million ha of forests. In 1987, 1991 and 1994 forest fires covered Indonesia and the neighbouring countries of Malaysia and Singapore with smoky haze. Most fires are caused by or related to human activities:

    • The removal of primary forest and the dryer residual secondary vegetation make the forest area more prone to fire.
    • Fire ignited by farmers using traditional slash and burn agriculture methods escape control due to lack of knowledge of fire control methods.
    • Agricultural use and forestry plantations have left the forest areas more susceptible to fires.
    • Increase of Alang-Alang grass (Imperata cylindrica) in disturbed areas raises fire susceptibility.

  Some natural factors have a strong influence on fire risk:

    • Normally, Kalimantan has a low-precipitation period from July to October. Every five to six years, drought periods occur as a result of an El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event.
    • East Kalimantan has coal seams, that reach the surface in the forest regions. They are concentrated in the area of Bukit Soeharto National Park. Some of the coal seams have been burning for many years, and others since the last major fires. Many of the coal seam fires cannot be extinguished using practical methods but will require continued monitoring to prevent them from igniting the surrounding forest.

    Consequences of Forest Fires:
    Apart from the ecological damage which is very significant but difficult to quantify, the economic loss is considerable. It is estimated that damage of more than US$ 50 million a year occur to the forest plus a loss of 2 million m3 of timber. Additionally, the smoke adversely affects health and impedes aircraft movement and shipping throughout Southeast Asia.

    History of the IFFM Project:
    Following the 1991 forest fires and an extended smog situation all over SE Asia, the Federal Republic of Germany responded to a request for assistance by the Indonesian government. In June 1992 the National Planning Agency of Indonesia (Bappenas), assisted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ), held an International Workshop on Long-Term Integrated Forest Fire Management in Bandung (more details about the Bandung Workshop: see January 1993 issue of IFFN). At this workshop, the core problem identified was that no sufficiently developed fire management system existed in Indonesia. A national Long-term Integrated Forest Fire Management System (IFFM) was proposed. The IFFM project, based on this workshop, began in 1994. It is a pilot project situated in the Bukit Soeharto area of East Kalimantan.

    Integrated Fire Management is based on prevention, detection/presuppression, suppression, and application of prescribed or controlled burning. Uncontrolled wildfires are reduced by launching prevention campaigns for the public, rural villages and logging areas. Fire prevention also includes incentives and enforceable laws. In the project area fires are not only detected by observation towers manned during the high risk seasons and by mobile fire patrols. Additionally, a satellite receiving station will be established in Samarinda in 1996; it will show “hot spots” on a map covering all of the East Kalimantan Province.

    Presuppression measures embrace infrastructure, logistics and preparedness in the event of a fire incident (e.g. maps, water supply stations, trained fire fighting units, etc.). Suppression is all of the activities used to extinguish or limit unwanted fire. Training will be furnished for government personnel as well as village volunteers. Controlled burning techniques will be introduced to reduce the escape of agricultural fires. Rural people frequently use fire in their agricultural activities. When uncontrolled, these fires can spread into and damage vast areas of lands. Controlled burning techniques include firebreak establishment, prescribed fires, and trained firefighters who can control the spread of fires.

IFFM Objectives and Results: The main objective is to establish an operational Integrated Fire Management System in the pilot region. The expected results are:

    • The necessary infrastructure for the IFFM system is operative.
    • An operative organization for the implementation of the IFFM system is implemented with participation by local government and PUSDAL (Provincial emergency committee).
    • The fire management centre personnel, the advisory services and the mobile fire management teams are in a position to carry out their task.
    • Within and around the Bukit-Soeharto region, the local populations, companies, and contractors cooperate with the IFFM system
    • Post-phase I IFFM activities in East-Kalimantan are prepared.
    • The internal project management is operational.
    • The mechanisms of dialogue among participating organisations are established. 

    Implementation of IFFM:
    IFFM is an Indonesian project with outside assistance. IFFM will be integrated into the Indonesian administrative system, aimed at developing a sustainable fire management organisation in cooperation with Kanwil and Dinas Kehutanan in East Kalimantan. The executing agency (field level) is Dinas, and the lead counterpart agency for GTZ is the Ministry of Forestry, Directorate of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, represented by Kanwil Kehutanan at the Provincial level. The people living in and around the park will be integrated into the IFFM system. The project also seeks close cooperation with other related projects (ITTO, FAO, GTZ and EU).

    The Provincial Fire Management Center is located in Samarinda, with a district fire management office in the Bukit-Soeharto area. Four additional district fire management centres will be set up in Phase II (1997-2000). They will serve as an example for all of East Kalimantan as well as other forest fire prone areas throughout Indonesia.



    From: Integrated Forest Fire Management Project

    Jl. Kesuma Bangsa
    P.O. Box 1087
    RI – Samarinda 75001

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