Fires from this year alone have tripled Indonesia's annual emissions.
More than half the fires are burning on peatlands, which hold some of the highest quantities of carbon on Earth.
Thirty percent of Indonesia’s territories have been handed over to private companies as concessions, with many of them overlapping with indigenous lands. Here are three ways Indonesia can strengthen land rights for local communities while also benefiting government, businesses and the environment.
In Kalimantan, Indonesia’s largest palm oil-producing region, it’s possible to fully protect the most valuable forests and reduce emissions by 35 percent while only modestly reducing profits.
The protected area has seen 185 fire alerts since May 29, 2015, some of which are likely associated with land clearing for agriculture.
Half of the fire alerts in Indonesia's Riau Province are occurring in protected areas like the Tesso Nilo National Park. Plus, 38 percent of the alerts are on peatlands, some of the country's most carbon-rich ecosystems.
Indonesia's parliament recently approved an agreement to reduce haze pollution from land and forest fires.
Ratification of the law—originally signed 12 years ago—comes not a moment too soon: Fires are currently flaring across southern Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan, jeopardizing Indonesia’s forests and the communities and wildlife that call these regions home.
Indonesia and Singapore have been bracing themselves in recent weeks as warnings that this year's dry season would likely herald a severe spike in forest fires in Sumatra, with toxic haze across the region.