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Land and Forest Fires in Indonesia

Everyday trees fall. Less than a month, the wilderness is gone. As far as the eye could see there was only a dead carcass. A few weeks later, black smoke soared. The fire blazes wildly. The sky became dark. Then acid rain. The fish in the river are dead. Forest and all the animals in it, just a memory.

I experienced the incident in the 1980s. Many times. Because I live in villages in remote parts of Sumatra. I witnessed the disappearance of forest areas into oil palm plantations. Almost every year there is always burning forest, after being cut down. Performed by a plantation contractor. In the past, forest burning has not caused a haze disaster.

But, since the 1990s massive deforestation caused a smog disaster. Long-term effects that must be suffered by the current generation. Indonesia is also a country prone to forest and land fires. Especially in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Since over a decade ago large fires have been repeated every year. Forests that have been felled, in addition to being a plantation also becomes empty land. Shrubs are prone to burning during drought.

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Data from Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry and Environment indicate that the peak of major fires occurred in 2015. In 2015 the number of hotspots in Indonesia reached 108,663 points and burnt land area reached 261,060.44 hectares. Five areas with the highest fire rates are Riau, Central Kalimantan, South Sumatra, West Kalimantan and Papua.

Fires covering land of plantations, oil palm concessions, forest concessions, agriculture, mining, swamp forests, natural forests and others. From World Bank (2016) data it is seen that the most is on oil palm concession areas and others include abandoned land and community property.

World Bank (2016) in the report "Losses from Fire Fires: Economic Impact Analysis of the Fire Crisis of 2015" also estimates that fires in Indonesia by 2015 cost at least Rp 221 trillion (USD 16.1 billion) or equivalent to 1.9 Percent of GDP by 2015. The smog has also contributed to the deaths of 19 people and more than 500,000 cases of acute respiratory infections.

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