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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.

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Global Forest Watch—Join the Movement

We know remarkably little about what is happening to forests. This information gap is a key reason why the world loses 50 soccer fields’ of forests every minute of every day.

But it’s also a gap that’s about to become significantly more narrow with the launch of Global Forest Watch today.

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2 Things You Need to Know about Indonesia's Forest Moratorium

Indonesia’s forest moratorium, a policy aiming to protect an area the size of Japan from development, represents one of the most ambitious conservation schemes ever established in the country. But is it actually making progress in improving the forest sector?

WRI’s new working paper, Indonesia’s Forest Moratorium: Impacts and Next Steps, aims to answer that question and more.

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7 Stories to Watch in 2014

Earlier this month, WRI launched its “Stories to Watch in 2014.”

All years are important, but decisions made in 2014 will have a striking impact for decades to come. Here are seven potential game-changers:

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“Swapping Land” to Produce Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia

Indonesia has the world’s third-largest rainforest, which is a haven for biodiversity and an economic lifeline for many rural communities. However, Indonesian forests are in rapid decline and the country regularly tops deforestation hotspots lists. The key to protecting Indonesia’s forests remains reforming its massive forestry and agriculture sectors. By giving these industries the tools to produce commodities such as palm oil and wood pulp sustainably, Indonesia can increase agricultural production without contributing to deforestation.

WRI has produced a new issue brief to address this challenge, How to Change Legal Land Use Classifications to Support More Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia. This publication provides a “how-to guide” for companies to shift their palm oil operations from forested to degraded land, as well as recommendations on how Indonesian policymakers can make this process easier.

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‘Tukar-Menukar Lahan’ untuk Produksi Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan di Indonesia

WRI mempublikasikan analisis singkat untuk membahas tantangan tersebut: How to Change Legal Land Use Classifications to Support More Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia (Bagaimana Mengubah Klasifikasi Legal Penggunaan Kawasan untuk Mendukung Kelapa Sawit yang Lebih Berkelanjutan di Indonesia). Publikasi ini memberikan panduan praktis bagi perusahaan untuk memindahkan operasi kelapa sawitnya dari lahan berhutan ke lahan terdegradasi, sekaligus menawarkan beberapa rekomendasi kepada para pembuat kebijakan di Indonesia untuk membuat proses ini dapat berlangsung dengan lebih mudah.

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How to Change Legal Land Use Classifications to Support More Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Indonesia

Indonesia's industry and government leaders have announced goals to expand palm oil production while avoiding forest loss and social conflict. Achieving those goals depends on establishing new plantations on suitable, non-forested land and respecting local rights. Land classification in...

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.

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