South East Asia: The Ecological and Socio-Economic Background of Fire
The application of fire in land-use systems and wildfires in forests and other vegetation in Indonesia and neighbouring countries within the South East Asian region have reached unprecedented levels and have been leading to severe environmental problems and impacts on society. Traditional slash-and-burn systems in the shifting agriculture mode are increasingly replaced by modern large-scale conversion of forest into permanent agricultural systems which are partially maintained by fire, and into forest plantations. Wildfires escaping from land-use fires are becoming more and more regular. The impact of land-use fires and wildfires are detrimental to biodiversity and the regional atmospheric chemistry. In Indonesia and within the South East Asian / ASEAN region a joint, concerted approach is needed to cope with the problem of transboundary pollution caused by vegetation burning. However, since fire is an essential tool in land use in the tropics a response strategy must be developed in which the benefits from fire use would be encouraged, at the same time the negative impacts of fire be reduced. National and regional fire management plans and policies must take into consideration the complexity and diversity of fire uses in different vegetation types and land-use systems.
The following five papersare publications of the Fire Ecology Research Group / Global Fire MonitoringCenter (published in 1996 and 1997):