Indonesia still at high risk of catastrophic fires

Indonesia still at high risk of catastrophic fires

20 November 2013

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Indonesia — The recent haze crisis in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia raised alarm on the risks of forest fires in Southeast Asia. The lack of clear and reliable information on land ownership is one of the main reasons why forest fires are difficult to track down and to avoid. Indeed, the company concession data are inconsistent between the Ministry of Forestry, the provincial and district governments.

In October, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, and Thailand agreed to adopt a joint “haze monitoring system” and share digital land-use and concession maps on a government-to-government basis. But much more progress needs to be made, such as making concession and land use data entirely public.

In Indonesia, forest fires are at the center of attention. According to estimates from Indonesia’s national office on climate change, changes in land use, including fires, and the effects on peatland account for 79 percent of Indonesia’s total emissions. Without enough efforts to address the issue of fires, the country’s objective to cut emissions by 26 percent will not be met.

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