Indonesia: Forest Fire Prevention Management Project in Indonesia (IFFN No. 16 – January 1997)


Forest Fire Prevention ManagementProject in Indonesia

(IFFN No. 16 – January 1997, p. 17-18)

In Indonesia, large forest fires periodically occur with an interval of 3 to 5 years, due to an unusually long dry season. It is well known that in 1982 and 1983 in East Kalimantan the fire-damaged forest area amounted to 3.5 million hectares. Smoke from forest fires in 1991 and 1994 caused disturbance of air and marine traffic in neighbouring countries. Forest fire and smoke control is the target of highest priority for the Government of Indonesia. Based on the request from the Government of Indonesia, this Project commenced in 1996 as a technical cooperation between the Ministry of Forestry in Indonesia and Japan Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The overall goal of the Project is to reduce the damage of forest fires in Indonesia, and thereby reduce forest devastation and environmental disturbances caused by the smoke from them. In order to attain the above mentioned goal, the Project focuses its activities on three fields as follows: 

  • To improve methods of early warning and detection systems by applying information from weather satellites HIMAWARI and NOAA.
  • To support public relations and extension activities for forest fire prevention as well as training for initial suppression to local communities and local government staff.
  • To develop forest management techniques which are effective for forest fire prevention and make trials of green belt and fire break establishment in cooperation with concerned local communities.

Especially, in the case of Indonesia, it is very difficult to suppress forest fires once they spread out, due to large forest areas and in addition poor access roads and communication facilities. Early warning and detection can be the only possible way to effectively reduce the damage of forest fires.

As most forest fires in Indonesia are caused by human activities, including the burning of shrub and grassland for shifting cultivation and plantations, it is quite important and effective to raise people’s awareness of forest fires through public relations and extension activities.

Project Profile

Name: Forest Fire Prevention Management Project Duration: April 1996 – April 2001
Implementing Agencies:
Indonesian side: Directorate of Forest Protection, Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation, Ministry of Forestry Japanese side: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Personnel: Five JICA experts and Indonesian counterparts Project sites: 1. Rantau Rasau Sub-district, Kuala Tungkal Regency, Jambi Province 2. Nanga Pinoh Sub-district, Sintang Regency, West Kalimantan Province Project office: Forest Fire Prevention Management Project Department Kehutanan, Bogor, Java


Progress in Extension and Training:
During the half year since April 1996, the Project has focussed on activities of extension and training in both project sites in Jambi and West Kalimantan Province.

For extension activities, we visited local elementary schools where we presented knapsacks with the logo “Pongi”, national mascot for forest fire control, and gave explanations to school children. Also, we distributed leaflets and pamphlets describing the dangers of forest fires and its control to raise awareness and give instruction to local residents gathering in the villages. Several public relations films were presented after the instruction concerning forest protection. Aside from direct extension to the village people, we also held meetings with representatives of each community of the village, where we requested the people’s participation to control forest fires and discuss the problems which local communities face in terms of fire control. The total number of people who participated in these activities are 900 school children and 2,800 village people from 7 villages in both provinces.

For the training of initial suppression, we conducted a two-day training course participated by 50 staff members of the local forestry office and plantation company in the West Kalimantan Province site. The training course consisted of lectures on the laws and regulations related to forest fire control, as well as the practice of initial suppression by using hand tools in the field.


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Fig.1. Extension activity at the elementary school in Jambi Province, Indonesia, August 1996


Preparation for Other Activities:
As basic data and information on local communities are indispensable for improving levels of extension and people’s participation, we are preparing socio-economic surveys in the sites of both provinces. Several villages will be selected for a base-line survey. Other specific surveys on forest fires will also be carried out, such as on the fire history in the area and the communities’ awareness of forest fires.

Field observation is conducted in the site of Jambi, along the buffer zone of Berbak National Park, where we will make a trial green belt and water channel establishment. Green belts with a water channel can protect the national park from fires caused by burning on neighbouring rice fields during the dry season. Species selection will be done based on silvicultural knowledge as well as on the request from concerned local communities.

Last of all, we are preparing for the installation of equipment for weather satellite and technical development for fire detection and observation.

Exchange Among Internationally Supported Projects:
Aside from this Project, there are two other forest fire related cooperations in Indonesia, Integrated Forest Fire Management Project (IFFM) by the GTZ in the East Kalimantan Province (1994-1997 for Phase I and 1997-2000 for Phase II), and the Forest Fire Prevention and Control Project by the EU in the South Sumatra Province (1995-1998). Also ITTO will start a project formulating national guidelines on the protection of tropical forests against fire, and the USDA will re-start a training project on forest fire control this year. It is quite important and effective to exchange views and share experiences with each other for fruitful results of our efforts.



From: Miyakawa Hideki
Forest Fire Prevention Management Project
Direktorat Perlindungan
Ditjen. PHPA, Departemen Kehutanan
JL. Ir. H. Juanda 100 Bogor

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