The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) based in Bogor, Indonesia, said that in 1997 Indonesia’s peatland fires accounted for 60 percent of the haze despite having only 20 percent of the total area burnt."As more easily accessible upland forests disappear, peat land areas are increasingly harvested by companies and individuals," CIFOR, which is governed by an international board of trustees, said in a statement released during the Singapore meeting. Daniel Murdiyarso, a CIFOR forestry and environmental management specialist, said that Southeast Asia has 60 percent of the world’s tropical peatlands. "Fire and ecological change in these areas could seriously exacerbate regional haze and global greenhouse gas emissions," he said in the statement. Another CIFOR expert, Una Chokalingham, said that Indonesia’s peat swamps contain 21 percent of the earth’s land-based carbon. "Unless actions are taken, that carbon could become hot-house gas in 40 years," Chokalingham said.
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