Saving the Forest Fires: Indonesia’s Important Role in AATHP

Saving the Earth: Indonesia's Important Role in AATHP
Illustration of forest and land fires in Indonesia,
  • Forest and land fires in Indonesia are one of the world’s problems
  • Indonesia is committed to mitigating transboundary haze pollution through the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) in 2014
  • Indonesia has several forest and land fire prevention strategies

Forest and land fires are events of burning forests or land that occur naturally or by human actions. Fire cause environmental damage which also has an ecological, economic, socio-cultural, and political impact. Forest fires are spreading freely and burning all forest fuel and land through which they pass. These fires can occur in various locations and have serious impacts on the environment and also public health

Forest and land fires in Indonesia have become one of the world’s concerns since the occurrence of major fires in 1982-1983. Then there were again major fires in 1997-1998, 2007, 2012, and 2015. The fires caused air pollution in the ASEAN region, so that the problem is increasingly becoming a concern.

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How Much Forest and Land Fires in Indonesia?

The graph presents data on the area of land experienced forest and land fires in Indonesia in 2015-2021. In fact, in 2015 there was a large fire with an area reaching 2,611,411 hectares. The fires became an inflection point in the way forest and land fires were controlled. Control led to a decrease in the area of fires in the following years.

The government’s attention to this problem was stated in a Presidential Instruction which subsequently resulted in a Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Government Regulations, and other supporting policies. Forest fire control in Indonesia focuses on prevention activities.

What are the Forest Fires?

Hot lava from volcanic eruptions can cause forest fires,

Indonesia is a tropical country that has a dry season with a fairly long duration. This causes natural factors to be one of the biggest factors in the occurrence of fires in forests and land. In addition, human factors intentionally or unintentionally can be the cause. Some of the causes of forest and land fires include the following:

  1. Lightning, lightning strikes that hit trees or dry shrubs can cause fire as a source of fires
  2. Volcanic eruptions, lava with very high temperatures can burn forests and land through which they pass
  3. Dry season, seasons can affect temperature, humidity, air stability, wind speed and direction, and also rain in an area. Environmental conditions that are too dry can trigger fires
  4. Soil cover conditions, biomass in the soil can be the main component causing forest fires in the dry season
  5. The type of soil, peatland that is found in Sumatra and Kalimantan has a dry nature during the dry season, so it is flammable during the dry season
  6. Land clearing through burning, slash-and-burn methods in land clearing are the cause of forest fires because fires are at risk of expanding and burning the surrounding environment
  7. Bonfires, the presence of unattended, uncontrolled, or imperfectly extinguished bonfires can trigger fires
  8. Wind, gusts of wind can expand a fire or heat source that already exists
  9. Hunting animals using firearms
  10. Atmospheric conditions

Forest and Land Fire Prevention Strategy in Indonesia

Forest fire monitoring through hotspot mapping,

Indonesia is committed to mitigating transboundary haze pollution through the ASEAN Agreement on Transboundary Haze Pollution (AATHP) in 2014. Mitigation activities take the form of routine patrols, integrated patrols, prevention campaigns through routine patrols, use of weather modification technology, increasing public awareness, community empowerment, and also land processing system without burning. There are several prevention strategies by the Indonesian government, including:

  1. Weather Modification Technology (TMC) for forest and land fire control since 2015
  2. Improve the capacity and quality of forest and land fire monitoring
  3. Improving the Fire Care Community program
  4. Developed a new method for calculating the area of forest and land fires, namely a satellite imagery-based mapping method to obtain data on hot spots, fire coordinates, and field-checking locations

Control Improvement Plan

Education of residents by Manggala Agni,

Indonesia has several focuses on controlling forest and land fires in the future, there are:

  1. Prioritizing forest and land fire prevention
  2. Increase active participation of business actors who influence forest and land fires
  3. Increase patrol capacity, especially in fire-prone provinces in Indonesia
  4. Improve public awareness and participation in forest fire control
  5. Encourage local governments to allocate budgets and optimize the use of regional reforestation funds
  6. Increase the capacity of Manggala Agni and increase the role of fire care communities as forest and land firefighters
  7. Increase the capacity of early warning technology and early detection of forest and land fires
  8. Improve community-based online monitoring and reporting at
  9. Enforce the law

Then, What Can We Do?

Make a bonfire by paying attention to environmental conditions,

As Indonesian citizens, this problem are also our collective responsibility. Then, how can we support government programs? So, here are some ways we can do:

  1. Conduct campaigns and education on forest and land fires
  2. Avoid burning garbage, especially in dry environments and during strong winds
  3. Make sure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving the burning site
  4. Do not make bonfires in fire-prone locations and during strong winds
  5. Do not throw cigarette nipples or objects with other heat sources carelessly into the forest or land

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In conclusion, forest fires in Indonesia can be prevented and controlled. The government has made various efforts to prevent this and also will continue to improvise. However, as Indonesians there are several things we can do to prevent it. Then, what actions do you think have been most influential in preventing forest and land fires?

#ZonaEBT #SebarTerbarukan #EBTHeroes

Editor: Bellinda Putri Hidayat


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