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Intense Forest Fires Season Threatens to Disrupt Indonesia’s Progress in Reducing Deforestation

Indonesia’s forest fires have made headlines globally over the past few weeks. This year’s forest fires have affected millions of people. Schools have closed in some areas due to unsafe levels of air pollution, while many people are suffering from respiratory illnesses. The haze has spread so far as to affect Singapore and Malaysia. While […]


Will the Start of Forest Fires Season Hamper Indonesia’s Progress in Reducing Deforestation?

Indonesia brought its deforestation rate down for the second year in a row in 2018 after experiencing record highs. This downward trend was a bright spot for the world’s forests: Tropical forests around the world lost 12 million hectares of trees in 2018 alone, an area of land the size of Belgium. However, with Indonesia’s […]

Drainage Canals in Peatland

How Scientists Used Lasers, Satellites and Planes to Map One of Indonesia’s Biggest Sources of Emissions

Twenty years ago, Dr. Florian Siegert, a German-trained biologist, was conducting ecology research in Borneo when a series of fires blazed across Indonesia. The Asian Forest Fires of 1997-1998 burned thousands of miles of rainforest, creating a haze and air quality disaster that caused $5-6 billion in economic losses and endangered the long-term health of […]


To Save Indonesia’s Carbon-Rich Peatlands, Start by Mapping Them

Peat swamp forest in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by James Anderson/WRI. On World Wetlands Day on February 2nd, Indonesia’s Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) will announce the winner of a competition to come up with the best method for mapping the nation’s peatlands. The winning team will be awarded a $1 million prize from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. For […]


The First Step of Transforming Indonesia’s Peatland Governance: Know Where the Peat Is

Peatland Governance Series In 2015, Indonesia suffered from record-breaking fires, over 50 percent of which burned on peatland. Since then, Indonesia has doubled down efforts to protect and restore these ecosystems, which are some of the most carbon-rich in the world and a popular site for agricultural expansion. Transforming the way Indonesia manages its peatland […]


Exploring Indonesia’s Long and Complicated History of Forest Fires

By Andres Chamorro, Susan Minnemeyer and Sarah Sargent For decades, forest and land fires in Indonesia have been an annual environmental crisis, but the dry conditions caused by the 2015 El Niño made that year’s fire season the worst in twenty years: approximately 2.6 millions hectares of land were burned between June and October—Indonesia’s dry […]


What Indonesia Doesn’t Know About Peatlands Could Undermine its Climate Goals

By Hidayah Hamzah and Reidinar Juliane Peat swamp forests of the Katingan Peatland Reserve in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Photo by James Anderson/WRI (Flickr). Peat forests, or wetlands, are some of the most important ecosystems for Indonesia and climate change. The country holds the largest tropical peatland in the world, which acts as a major carbon sink. […]

heatdensity map

Indonesia’s Fire Outbreaks Producing More Daily Emissions than Entire U.S. Economy

By Nancy Harris, Susan Minnemeyer, Fred Stolle and Octavia Payne According to estimates released this week by Guido van der Werf on the Global Fire Emissions Database, there have been nearly 100,000 active fire detections in Indonesia so far in 2015, which since September have generated emissions each day exceeding the average daily emissions from […]