Media coverage

Each year, CIFOR’s research and scientists are mentioned in over 1,500 news stories by local and international media outlets worldwide. Find the latest here, with over a decade of archives.

Area the size of Puerto Rico burned in Indonesia’s fire crisis

Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of Borneo Island, is the worst-affected region, with 4,281 square kilometers (1,653 square miles) of areas burned, followed by Sumatra with 1,887 square kilometers (729 square miles).

About a quarter of the burned areas, or 2,273 square kilometers (878 square miles), are peatlands, similar to the proportion in recent years. Raffles said 93 percent of the fires occurred in areas without standing forest. This finding is in line with analyses by the Center for International Forestry (CIFOR) of burned areas for 2013 and 2014 in Sumatra’s Riau province and 1997 and 2015 for Central Kalimantan province. The analysis found that most fires during those periods were in deforested areas, according to CIFOR landscape researcher David Gaveau.

“Based on our previous analysis, I expect most smoke-producing 2019 fires burn idle ‘already-deforested-by-previous-burning’ degraded drained peatlands covered by fire-prone scrubs and ferns,” he told Mongabay. “Those degraded lands used to be forest but never regenerated into forests because of repeated burning, and were never converted to plantations because attempts to establish plantations failed.”