Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | ePaper

Indonesian fires burnt 1.6m hectares of land this year: Researchers

  • Print


Reuters, Jakarta :
Fires in Indonesia that spread a smoky haze over Southeast Asia this year burned at least 1.6 million hectares of mostly degraded land and carbon-rich peatlands, data from a respected research group showed on Monday.
Southeast Asia has suffered for years from smoke caused by fires in Indonesia, raising health and environmental concerns, but this year's were the worst since 2015 when 2.6 million hectares were burned.
Slash-and-burn clearing by some palm oil growers is often blamed for the fires, which can then spread rapidly, especially during dry weather.
The Indonesian fires have been blamed for increasing greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation that can endanger wildlife such as orangutans.
Jakarta-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) said its analysis of satellite imagery from the first ten months of the year showed much of the fires was in lands cleared years ago.
"We found that 76% of burning occurred on idle lands. Those lands were forests a few years ago, but cycles of repeated burns have converted them to unproductive degraded scrublands," CIFOR scientists led by David Gaveau said in a statement.
About 3% of the fires occurred on oil palm plantations.
Peatlands accounted for 41% of the total land burned, or 670,000 hectares, in Indonesia this year, the CIFOR data showed.
The scientists estimated around 60,000 hectares of rainforests were burnt this year as of October.
The Jambi and West Kalimantan provinces, which are important habitats for tigers and orangutans, saw some of the highest number of fires, they said.
Their 1.6 million hectare estimate of burnt land is based on an analysis across seven provinces.
Indonesia's environment and forestry ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the CIFOR data. But an official had said earlier this year that 857,756 hectares of land burnt as of end-September.
Peatlands accounted for 41% of the total land burned, or 670,000 hectares, in Indonesia this year, the CIFOR data showed.
The scientists estimated around 60,000 hectares of rainforests were burnt this year as of October.
The Jambi and West Kalimantan provinces, which are important habitats for tigers and orangutans, saw some of the highest number of fires, they said.
Their 1.6 million hectare estimate of burnt land is based on an analysis across seven provinces.
Indonesia's environment and forestry ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the CIFOR data. But an official had said earlier this year that 857,756 hectares of land burnt as of end-September.

More News For this Category

US army preparing biggest European deployment in 25 years

US army preparing biggest European deployment in 25 years

AFP, Washington:The US Army is planning its biggest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years, with 20,000 troops slated to take part in a massive force projection exercise at

Climate change tops list of global worries for young people: AI

Madrid (Thomson Reuters Foundation) :Four out of 10 young people view climate change as one of the most important issues facing the world, an Amnesty International survey on the state

Activists hold placards as they attend a protest against climate change as the COP25 climate summit held in Madrid, Spain.

Activists hold placards as they attend a protest against climate change as the COP25 climate summit held in Madrid, Spain.

Nobel laureates call for accountability of Suu Kyi

Nobel laureates call for accountability of Suu Kyi

Anadolu News Agency  :Myanmar's state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and country's army commanders must be held criminally accountable for crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims, seven Nobel peace laureates said

A Black Swan for Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

The Irrawaddy  :Myanmar's de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-once internationally feted as a human rights champion-arrived with her delegation in The Hague, Netherlands on Sunday. This time, her

Australia braces for bushfires as strong winds create ‘severe’ conditions

Australia braces for bushfires as strong winds create ‘severe’ conditions

AFP, GosfordAustralians braced for deadly bushfires to spread and intensify Tuesday, as strong winds and high temperatures created "severe" fire conditions.With Sydney and several other cities again cloaked in thick

News In Brief

6 killed after gun rampage at Czech hospitalAFP, OstravaA gunman opened fire Tuesday in a hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava, killing six people, police said. "There are

At London temple, Boris Johnson pledges support to PM Modi's new India

At London temple, Boris Johnson pledges support to PM Modi's new India

PTI, London :British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has made a pledge to partner with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his mission to build a new India, as he and his

Iran ready for more prisoner swaps with US, not negotiations

Iran ready for more prisoner swaps with US, not negotiations

AP, Tehran :Iran is ready for more prisoner swaps with the United States, the Cabinet spokesman said Monday even as he reiterated the Iranian leadership's stance that there will be

Saudi Arabia ends gender-segregated entrances for restaurants

Saudi Arabia ends gender-segregated entrances for restaurants

Reuters, Riyadh :Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to maintain entrances segregated by sex, the authorities said on Sunday, further eroding some of the world's strictest social rules