Though Indonesia’s President has called for a moratorium on peatland clearing in Indonesia, the process of deforestation and clearing continues. Despite the grave conditions that developed in 2015, fire is still the cheapest means of clearing remnant forest areas once valuable species have been removed.
Following a PM Haze volunteer visit to Riau on 23 February 2017 I began to map the relentless destruction of Riau’s forests.
The red line shows the course of a helicopter flight. The path traverses a variety of landscapes and land use. Additional photos have been added along with shaded areas showing the location of recent fires.
Blogging about deforestation and smoke haze
I first began writing about this problem in September 2015 with the story Forest Burning and haze in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
12 more posts followed as my focus narrowed to Sumatra and Riau Province, in particular.
- #Indonesia’s #peatland is burning: the peatland burning #moratorium is failing in Riau Province, Sumatra
- Encountering the #Indigenous people of #Riau proved cause for wider reflection
- #Indigenous People in Siberut are facing deforestation and major cultural disruption
- Competition for land in Riau Province: Pressure from Oil Palm and Wood Pulp Corporations
- Little ground for optimism for the future of forests in #Indonesia’s #Riau Province
- Getting Singapore’s eateries and companies to switch to #sustainable palm oil
- Peoples’ Movement to Stop the Haze #GoHazeFree
- Tackling the smoke #haze problem with alternative sustainable #peatland production
- #Indonesian #peatlands are torched again as the #burning season gets underway
- Indonesian Foreign Ministry on Smoke Haze
- The #smokehaze is likely to remain a problem in the face of an ineffective #Indonesian response
- Impacts of and responses to the dense smoke haze from #Indonesia
- Forest Burning and haze in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore
The failure of governance
There is much more to say on this issue but to sum it up in one sentence is easy. There has been a failure of the different levels of government in Indonesia to apply the law in the face of pressed from vested interests with a capacity to pay for special consideration.
At present, I’m working on a post that addresses this squarely. In the meantime, anyone wanting an excellent overview of this issue should consult Turning down the heat in Indonesia’s oil palm industry: Good governance and sustainability incentives can provide alternatives for land conversion fires by Nabiha Shahab. She has drawn many of the threads together
She writes, in part:
In theory, the central government has power to influence the oil palm supply chain through law and policies; district-level governments have the most jurisdiction for law enforcement and information-spreading; and village governments are closest to plantation developers, thus having the responsibility of dealing directly with them.
However, good governance for the industry is not as simple as a top-down approach. From consumers to mills, refineries and developers, players in palm oil influence governance processes in different, sometimes unexpected ways.
Read more in my next post.