Indonesia burning: CIFOR expert on haze crisis

Poor implementation of laws in Indonesia could be a main contributor to recurring fire and haze.

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BOGOR, Indonesia (21 June, 2013)_While Indonesia has taken important steps to ban the use of large-scale fire to clear land, the current haze issues highlight a need to better implement laws to penalize the misuse of fire, said Peter Kanowski, Deputy Director General of the Center for International Forestry Research.

The recurrence of fire and transboundary haze remains a problem and a symptom of complex governance issues in Indonesia, he said.

A national regulation implemented in 2001 bans companies from using fire in large-scale plantation conversion.

But implementation of this law has been difficult at the provincial and local levels, Kanowski said.

“Since the last haze event (in 1997), Indonesia has…become a much more decentralized nation and that poses a whole set of new challenges in terms of giving effect to a regulation that’s been made nationally but has also to be implemented at provincial and local levels,” he said.

The cause of the haze affecting Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore appears to have changed little since 1997: some corporate plantation growers are still deliberately lighting fires in peatland areas in Indonesia as it is often the cheapest way to clear large areas of land.

Kanowski spoke to Forests News on causes of the haze crisis and the challenges in tackling it.

Find information on the underlying causes and impacts of fires in Indonesia at

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Topic(s) :   Blue carbon, mangroves and peatlands Peatlands Community forestry Wetlands Fire & haze Rights