Research: Nearly a quarter of June fires in Indonesia occurred in industrial plantations

Analyses show most of the June fires in Indonesia occurred outside industrial plantations but field investigations are needed to determine the cause of the fires. Sam@flickr

Analyses show most of the June fires in Indonesia occurred outside industrial plantations but field investigations are needed to determine the cause of the fires. Sam@flickr

Last month’s fires on the Indonesian island of Sumatra made news headlines worldwide as they generated record-breaking air-pollution levels over neighboring Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore’s Pollutants Standards Index (PSI) rose to an all-time high of 371 on 21 June 2013, surpassing the official “hazardous designation” of 301 or higher.

Analyses by the World Resources Institute (WRI), Eyes on the Forest, and the World Agroforestry Centre of available concession maps from official national and provincial government offices, superimposed on daily fire alerts from NASA, showed that the bulk of fire alerts occurred on lands leased out to plantation companies for the development of large industrial oil palm and acacia plantations.

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