Indonesia’s Accidental fires are usually due to
Indonesia’s forest fires have been a catastrophe that happens almost every year. Many of them were believed to be deliberately caused by man. In the past, forest fire was a practical method to clear the land.
However as time passes by, we are starting to be conscious of its impact towards our lives and the environment. Therefore, we should look into it and find ways to prevent the problem. According to the Ministry of Forestry, forest fire is the condition where fire occurs in the forest and may cause damage to the forest itself, including the surrounding environment.1 Forest fire can occur naturally or as human-caused. The natural causes include thunder, volcanic lava, and friction between the trees. However, thunder and friction between trees can only cause fire in dry conditions.
Fire in Indonesia’s tropical rain forest is unlikely to happen due to the humidity. On the other hand, human-caused forest fires can happen accidentally or intentionally. Accidental fires are usually due to people’s carelessness, such as making campfires and throwing cigarette butts.
And intentional fires are commonly caused by people who wanted to clear the land. 99% of the forest fires in Indonesia were caused by human. And only 1% of them were naturally occuring.2 Over the last 15 years, the most of the fires in Indonesia occured in South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan and Riau. Together, these three provinces are responsible for 44% of all fires in Indonesia since 2001. In 2015, the fire alert count in Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra exceeded 27,000, compared to the 5,500 alerts each of other provinces had on average in the previous five years.
In Riau, fires are decreasing overall, but 4,058 fires were detected in 2016, despite it being a wet year. That’s more than four times as many fires than were detected in the fire-prone Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra. And majority of the fires were driven by agriculture. This can be seen from the observation that more than 60% of the fires in Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra happened on peatlands.
50% of South Sumatra’s fires in 2015 were on pulpwood and wood fiber concessions. Similarly, in 2016, Riau had 47% of fires that were also on wood fiber concessions.3 Moreover, according to Lindsey Allen, executive director of the conservation organisation Rainforest Action Network, most of the fires are direct result of industrial manipulation of the landscape for plantation development.
So, what are the impacts of the forest fires? Forest fires affects several different aspects of life. Firstly, it affects the ecology. Forest fires is one of the disaster to our biological diversity. It causes the loss of natural shelters of wildlife and causes the death of animals, plants, and human beings. Forest, with its ability to photosynthesize and store carbon, is the source of oxygen. Forest fires cause the decrease of oxygen produced while release greenhouse gases and carbon emission to the atmosphere..
The smoke that is inflicted by the fire contains Carbon Monoxide, Sulphur Dioxide, Benzene, Ozone, Formaldehyde, Nitrogen Oxide, and other harmful gases that may not only cause several health diseases, such as respiratory disorders, but also lead to an extreme climate change and global warming. Another function of forest is to protect the land from erosion by holding the soil together with their roots, so deforestation may lead to erosion and flood. Aside from its ecological functions, forests also contribute in the economic aspect as the asset to provide a lot of products to be sold. Because of forest fires, there is loss of infrastructures and properties which results in the decrease of profit. However, forest fires can also bring positive impacts, such as it can kill pests, the ash of forest fires can be an important mineral for the growth of new plants bud, and the soil where forest fires occur can be more fertile.