Adapting to recurring forest fires – climate change and Indonesia’s development

Meeting to discuss how Indonesia should prepare for the impact of climate change Tropical Forests and Climate Change Adaptation (TroFCCA) Launch
Guest speaker – Dr. Emil Salim

Bogor, 29-30 May 2006

Forestry, environment, development planning experts and scientists are meeting in Bogor to discuss the need for Indonesia to begin preparing for the impacts and challenges presented by climate change and recurring forest fires.

Indonesia’s economic development must begin embracing strategies for adapting to climate change. If not, global warming may have devastating environmental, economic and social consequences, especially as a result of the changes to Indonesia’s rainforests.

Future climate change scenarios indicate that by 2080 parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan may be 10-30% wetter during the monsoon. On the other hand, Java and Bali may be drier by 15%.

Seasonal variations and extreme weather events like El Niño are likely to be more severe and significantly increase the risk of forest fires during Indonesia’s dry seasons.

Climate change is also likely to increase the risk of more frequent forest fires in Indonesia’s southern regions where forests are generally drier, including the southern areas of Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, as well as Java and Bali.

TroFCCA is concerned with the fact that forest fires have severe socio-economic consequences. This is illustrated in recent research which indicates Indonesia’s devastating fires of 1997-98 caused estimated economic losses of US$ 9 billion.

Impacts resulting from forests fires enhanced by climate change include: