Land-clearing Blazes in Indonesia

Jul 22, 2013

In Indonesia, land-clearing blazes dot the countryside. Fires for clearing land have been outlowed for all but the smallest landowners, but the "slash-and-burn" practice still persists despite cloaking Southeast Asia in toxic pollution for weeks. Better and more available satellite technology is helping identify culprits behind land-clearing blazes in Indonesia.

Unprecedented levels of air pollution in Singapore and Malaysia in June led to , school closings, and grounded aircraft. This year it was so bad that in some affected areas there was a 100 percent rise in the number of asthma cases, and the government of Malaysia distributed gas masks.

This year's blazes were centered in the fast-growing province of Riau where the palm-oil and pulpwood industries are located. Fires set for land-clearing can get out of control on drained peatlands frequently cause significant damage to human health, human assets and biodiversity and release large amounts of which contribute to climate change. In addition, setting the dried peat ablaze to clear land is dangerous due to the fact that the dried peat is extremely inflammable and once burning, these fires can remain underground in the peat for some time and then rise to the surface at a considerable distance from the original outbreak making firefighting difficult.

The illegal burning of forests generally happens from June to September each year—during Indonesia's dry season.

Explore further: 3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Slash-and-burn a way of life on Indonesia's Sumatra

Jul 04, 2013

The ground was still hot and smoke hung in the air when Saparina set out to plant her spinach in the ashen remains of rainforest on Indonesia's Sumatra island, where raging fires triggered Southeast Asia's ...

Indonesia to use rain-making technology to stop fires

Jun 19, 2013

Indonesia plans to use weather changing technology to try to unleash torrents of rain and extinguish raging fires on Sumatra island that have cloaked neighbouring Singapore in thick haze, an official said ...

Recommended for you

3Qs: Game theory and global climate talks

Nov 21, 2014

Last week, China and the United States announced an ambitious climate agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions in both countries, a pledge that marks the first time that China has agreed to stop its growing emissions. ...

From hurricanes to drought, LatAm's volatile climate

Nov 21, 2014

Sixteen years ago, Teodoro Acuna Zavala lost nearly everything when Hurricane Mitch ravaged his fields, pouring 10 days of torrential rains on Central America and killing more than 9,000 people.

Nicaragua: Studies say canal impact to be minimal

Nov 20, 2014

Officials said Thursday that studies have determined a $40 billion inter-oceanic canal across Nicaragua will have minimal impact on the environment and society, and construction is to begin next month.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.