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Blog Posts: Indonesia Forest Fires

  • Indonesian Fires Bring More Haze to Southeast Asia

    Clearing land for timber and agriculture is likely to blame for Indonesia's latest bout of fires. According to data from Global Forest Watch—a new online system that tracks tree cover change, fires, and other information in near-real time—roughly half of these fires are burning on land managed by oil palm, timber, and logging companies—despite the fact that using fire to clear land is illegal in Indonesia.

  • ASEAN Leaders Can Act to Reduce Fires and Haze

    For further reading, see our op-ed in the Jakarta Post.

    Less than four months ago, millions of people across Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia were choking on the worst air pollution ever recorded in Southeast Asia as hundreds of fires burned across Sumatra. The fires caused serious damage, eliciting a public health emergency, closing schools and harming tourism and other businesses.

    This week the Sultan of Brunei is hosting many of Asia’s heads of state for the 23rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit. Preventing new fires and haze are high on the agenda. Key decisions and actions are urgently needed from the presidents and prime ministers this week.

  • Indonesia Burning: Forest Fires Flare To Alarming Levels

    Fires were ablaze once more on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, reaching levels almost as high as those of June 2013, when neighboring Singapore and Malaysia were smothered by record-breaking smog and haze. NASA satellites registered a total of 734 high-confidence fire alerts in Sumatra’s provinces for the period August 22-27. Fire alert numbers declined significantly August 28-29.

  • Fire Alerts Spike in Indonesia as Risk of Haze Crisis Returns

    Cecelia Song, Kemen Austin, Andrew Leach, and other experts at WRI also contributed to this post.

    Bacalah posting blog dalam Bahasa Indonesia di sini

    Fires are flaring up once more on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Media reports in the region indicate that the resulting smog has already reached unhealthy levels over parts of Indonesia and Malaysia.

  • Indonesia Haze Risk Will Remain High Unless Ministers Keep Promises

    Following record-breaking air pollution across Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, ministers from five Southeast Asian countries will meet in Kuala Lumpur this week for urgent talks on combating the haze.

    New analysis of the patterns and causes of the fires in Sumatra that caused the haze highlights serious issues at the kickoff of this 15th meeting of the Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution.

    The new analysis from the World Resources Institute (WRI), which has been closely monitoring the fires since they began, highlights four key challenges that should help set the agenda for the Ministers of Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Thailand.

    1. First, pulpwood and oil palm concessions have a more significant role in the fires that we earlier thought.

    WRI’s analysis shows that that the number of fire alerts per hectare, in other words their density, is three to four times higher within pulpwood and oil palm concession boundaries than outside those boundaries.

  • Risiko Kebakaran Hutan dan Kabut Asap Indonesia Masih Tinggi: Empat Temuan Mencemaskan Terkait Kebakaran Hutan Belakangan

    Cecelia Song, Ariana Alisjahbana, Kemen Austin, Andrew Leach, Anne Rosenbarger, James Anderson dan ahli lainnya di WRI juga berkontribusi dalam artikel ini. Translation by Andhyta Utami, Andika Putraditama, and Ariana Alisjahbana

    Read this post in English here

    Menteri dari lima negara Asia Tenggara akan berkumpul di Malaysia minggu depan untuk sebuah pembahasan penting mengenai usaha mengatasi kabut asap. Hal ini terkait terjadinya kebakaran hutan baru-baru ini yang telah memecahkan rekor polusi udara tertinggi di berbagai wilayah Indonesia, Singapura, dan Malaysia. Beriringan dengan dimulainya pertemuan ke-15 dari Komite Pengarah Tingkat Menteri Sub-Regional untuk Polusi Lintas-Batas (Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution), analisis mendalam mengenai pola dan penyebab dari api terus berlanjut. Semoga saja krisis terakhir ini dapat memastikan bahwa pertemuan tersebut dapat berlangsung lebih produktif dari 14 rapat sebelumnya, sekaligus mendorong kawasan untuk menemukan penyebab dari kebakaran dan kabut asap tersebut.

    Pada pertengahan Juni, yakni puncak dari fenomena kabut asap tersebut, WRI mempublikasikan sebuah rangkaian tulisan yang terdiri atas tiga analisis mengenai kebakaran hutan di Indonesia, menggunakan peringatan titik api dari data satelit NASA dan peta resmi konsesi perkebunan HPH, kelapa sawit, serta HTI pemerintah Indonesia. Kami menemukan bahwa sekitar setengah dari peringatan titik api di Sumatera bertempat di dalam perkebunan kelapa sawit dan akasia, sekaligus mengidentifikasi perusahaan mana yang bertanggung jawab dalam pengelolaan area tersebut. Sejak penerbitannya, analisis dan temuan-temuan tersebut telah direplikasi, dikonfirmasi, serta dikembangkan oleh beberapa organisasi lainnya, termasuk CIFOR, Eyes on the Forest, Greenpeace, dan Union of Concerned Scientists.

  • How Singapore Can Help Clear the Air on the Haze

    This post originally appeared as an Op-Ed in the Straits Times.

    Singapore can help Indonesia untangle complex ownership structure of companies to figure out who’s legally responsible if crimes have been committed.

    As Malaysia declares a state of emergency with over 200 schools closing, and residents of Indonesia and Singapore continue to suffer from the choking haze, it's time to move beyond the blame game of claims and counter claims. Instead, we need to look at the facts, learn quickly from the data, and ensure political leaders, companies and communities take appropriate action to prevent this crisis from recurring.

  • New Data Shows Indonesian Forest Fires a Longstanding Crisis

    Over the past few days, WRI has been tracking the location of forest and land fires on Sumatra, an island in western Indonesia. In this update, WRI examines the historical trends of forest fires in Sumatra. Read our previous analysis.

    Bacalah posting blog dalam Bahasa Indonesia di sini

    Fires continue to burn in Indonesia, spreading haze and suffering across the country and into Malaysia and Singapore. New research from the World Resources Institute reveals troubling trends about the blazes:

    • The current fires are not beyond the normal historic range for fires in the region, but that may change as the fires continue to burn heavily.

    • The recent fires are part of a longstanding, endemic crisis of forest fires and land clearing in Indonesia, and bold action is needed to prevent the crisis from escalating.

    In this new analysis, WRI examines the historical trends of forest fires in Sumatra. Rapid analysis from WRI finds that the current forest fires observed in the Riau Province fit into a larger pattern of widespread forest and land fires. However, June 2013 is on track to be one of the worst months on record since 2001. Evaluation of recent wind patterns explains why the fires’ impact was felt so acutely in Singapore.

    WRI explored these trends using two key data sets:

    1. Historic fire alerts from NASA’s Active Fire Data, which shows fire alerts for the period of January 1, 2001 until the present.

    2. Information on air dispersion to Singapore derived from NOAA’s HYSPLIT model, which takes into account meteorological data and can be used to estimate the most likely path that air traveled to reach a particular location at a given time.

  • WRI Merilis Data Terbaru Terkait Kebakaran Hutan Di Indonesia

    Cecelia Song, Andika Putraditama, Andrew Leach, Ariana Alisjahbana, Lisa Johnston, James Anderson dan ahli lainnya di WRI juga berkontribusi dalam artikel ini.

    Read this post in English here.

    Hari Jumat yang lalu, World Resources Institute (WRI) mempublikasikan data detil terkait lokasi peringatan titik api di Sumatera yang telah menyebabkan kabut asap yang sangat mengganggu dan berpotensi beracun di wilayah Indonesia, Singapura, dan Malaysia. Pemerintah ketiga negara, perusahaan-perusahaan, maupun media semua berlomba untuk mencari data untuk memahami penyebab dan lokasi sebaran titik api, serta memutuskan siapa yang seharusnya bertanggung jawab.

    Selama beberapa hari terakhir ini, WRI telah melacak lokasi sebaran kebakaran hutan dan lahan yang terjadi di Sumatera, sebuah pulau di bagian barat Indonesia. Dalam perkembangan terbaru ini, WRI menganalisis tren historis kebakaran hutan yang terjadi di Sumatera. Baca analisa sebelumnya.

    Analisis terbaru dari WRI menunjukkan adanya perkembangan sebaran peringatan titik api di Sumatera dari waktu ke waktu serta kaitannya dengan konsesi perusahaan. Dua data penting dalam analisis ini antara lain:

  • WRI Releases Updated Data on the Fires in Indonesia

    Bacalah posting blog dalam Bahasa Indonesia di sini

    Last Friday, the World Resources Institute (WRI) published detailed data on the location of forest and land fires on Sumatra, which have spread a noxious and harmful haze across Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore, and caused widespread public concern. Governments from all three nations, many companies, and news outlets are seeking data to help understand the origin and spread of the fires, and determine who should be held accountable.

    Read WRI’s "Peering Through the Haze: What Data Can Tell Us About the Fires in Indonesia"

    WRI now has an updated assessment of fire alerts in Sumatra, showing the progression of alerts through time and location in relation to company concessions. The new analysis incorporates two important data updates:

    1. New fire alerts from NASA’s Active Fire Data, which shows the most recent fire alerts for the period of June 20-23 (previous analysis was for June 12-20).

    2. More recent concession and land use maps from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry, dated 2013.

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