Community-based fire management, land tenure and conflict: insights from Sumatra, Indonesia

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Community-based fire management in parts of Indonesia can have both positive and negative impacts on the forest environment, and can lead to short-and long-term changes in income. This paper examines two examples from Lampung province in Southern Sumatra, Indonesia and in Sekincau, located in a national park. Based on knowledge of fire behaviour, communities often encourage fire to escape from adjacent areas and burn in previously illegally logged forest. This suggests that the community knows how to manage fire to meet specific objectives. In Menggala in the vast swamps of East Lampung province, the traditional communities use fire as a tool for burning organic matter to prepare the ground for "traditional swamp rice cultivation" (sonor) during extended dry periods. The fires have facilitated the regeneration and expansion of areas of melaleuca cajuputi, a fast-growing species that responds positively to disturbance. The regenerating forests are harvested for domestic consumption and supplementing income through the production and sale of charcoal, poles and sawn timber.

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