New global study reveals the ‘staggering’ loss of forests caused by industrial agriculture

New global study reveals the ‘staggering’ loss of forests caused by industrial agriculture

The finding is “a really big deal,” says tropical ecologist Daniel Nepstad, director of the Earth Innovation Institute, an environmental nonprofit in San Francisco, California, because it suggests that corporate commitments alone are not going to adequately protect forests from expanding agriculture.

Researchers already had a detailed global picture of forest loss and regrowth. In 2013, a team led by Matthew Hansen, a remote-sensing expert at the University of Maryland in College Park, published high-resolution maps of forest change between 2000 and 2012 from satellite imagery. But the maps, available online, didn’t reveal where deforestation—the permanent loss of forest—was taking place.

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Four killed in Indonesia forest fires, police arrest suspects

Four killed in Indonesia forest fires, police arrest suspects

PONTIANAK, Indonesia (AP) – Police in the Indonesian part of Borneo island have arrested more than a dozen people suspected of starting forest fires that have killed four people in the past month.

West Kalimantan police chief Didi Haryono said yesterday that two of the 27 people wanted by police died in blazes they started to clear land for planting. He said 14 people have been arrested so far.

They could be prosecuted under an environmental protection law that allows a maximum 10-year prison sentence for setting fires to clear land.

The national disaster agency says four people have died in West Kalimantan’s forest fires in the past month, including two suspects.

Millions of hectares burned in Indonesia during annual dry season fires in 2015 that spread a health-damaging haze across the region for weeks.

The disaster, estimated by the World Bank to have caused losses of USD16 billion, was exacerbated by the practice of draining swampy peatland forests for industrial plantations, making them highly combustible. Indonesia’s government imposed a moratorium on peatland development in 2016 but has made little progress with plans to restore such wetlands to their original condition.

Officials said the recent haze in West Kalimantan has diminished due to fire-fighting efforts.

Sahat Irawan Manik, an official with a local fire unit, said on Monday that conditions had especially improved in the provincial capital, Pontianak, and around the airport.

“There are still some fires in five districts but there are water bombing teams by the Disaster Mitigation Agency, which has deployed 10 helicopters to help extinguish the fires,” Manik said.

About 1,000 hectares of fires have been extinguished across the province, he said.

Raffles B. Panjaitan, director of investigation and forest protection at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said the number of “hotspots” in West Kalimantan had dropped to 21 on Monday from 60 on Sunday.

Panjaitan said that so far this year, 71,959 hectares of land have burned in forest fires compared with 165,464 hectares from January to July last year.


Thinning forests resulting in fuelwood shortage

Thinning forests resulting in fuelwood shortage

Water-bombing intensifies in Kuala Baram, raging forest fire worsens haze

Water-bombing intensifies in Kuala Baram, raging forest fire worsens haze

By Stephen Then

NATION | Sunday, 19 Aug 2018 | 


MIRI: The Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department in Miri has intensified aerial water-bombing operations to contain a raging forest fire in Kuala Baram district.

The fire has also worsened the haze, recording an Air Pollutant Index (API) level at 113 on Sunday (Aug 19) morning. A reading of 0-50 is considered good, 51-100 moderate and 101-200 unhealthy.

Miri Fire chief Supt Law Poh Kiong said the Bomba air unit will be dropping more water to control the flames from spreading.

“Yesterday, we carried out 70 rounds of aerial water-bombings.

“This morning, we did more rounds,” he said.

Fire-fighters are also on the ground battling the flames on peat soils.

The wildfire in Kuala Baram is one of the dozens that are burning throughout the state.

Authorities are also worried about the haze and smog coming from West Kalimantan.

There are already more than 120 huge fires raging in the area.

Those fires measuring one sq km in size are called hotspots as they can be detected by satellites even 100km above earth.

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554 acres burnt in 178 Sarawak wildfires

554 acres burnt in 178 Sarawak wildfires

By Stephen Then

NATION | Friday, 17 Aug 2018 | 

MIRI: Some 554 acres (224ha) of forests throughout Sarawak have been burnt in 178 different wildfires since Aug 2.

The latest statistics from the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) showed that in the past 24 hours, firefighting teams statewide had been tackling 15 such wildfires.

The wildfires are in Miri, Kuching, Sri Aman, Sibu, Mukah, Song and Bintulu districts.

According to the Bomba Sarawak operation center, there was a huge wildfire raging in Sri Aman over an area of some 100 acres (one acre is about the size of one football field).

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238 open burning cases recorded this month

238 open burning cases recorded this month

SIBU: Sarawak recorded 238 open burning cases from July 1 until yesterday.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department director Nor Hisham Mohammad said 22 cases were reported daily over the past 10 days.

He added there was only spike in cases after July 15 due to the hot and dry weather. Before that,  the number was less significant.

“But, it is still below the daily threshold of 40 cases needed to activate the forest fire operation room.

“However, the current daily cases are still less compared to the highest reported cases in the last five years, which stood at 62 cases,” Nor Hisham said when contacted yesterday.

Open burning cases include bush, forest and peat soil fires.

Meanwhile, smoke was seen billowing from the bushes along Tun Ahmad Zaidi Adruce Road here.


Indonesia works to prevent forest fires during Asian Games

Indonesia works to prevent forest fires during Asian Games


Jakarta (VNA) – Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF) has taken measures to prevent forest fires and smoke as the country will host the 2018 Asian Games (ASIAD 18) next month, which is the regular time of forest and peatland fire in Indonesia each year.

Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra are set to host about 11,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 Asian countries for the games between August 18 and September 2.

Raffles B Panjaitan, Director of Forest and Land Fire at the MoEF, said that Indonesia has overcome smoke over the last two years. Forest fire hotspots in some high-risk provinces such as South Sumatra, Jambi and Riau were timely discovered and handled immediately.

A research group analyses data every day to give warnings and tackle forest and land fires by working closely with firefighting forces of the MoEF, police, army, private companies, and community.

Currently, the MoEF has deployed groups of firefighters to 11 high-risk provinces, along with nearly 2,000 personnel from other forces to prevent forest and land fires.

In addition, firefighting teams have been dispatched to nature reserve centers and national parks. In South Sumatra alone, five teams were set up and received training in fire prevention.

Regular forest and land fires have caused huge damage in Indonesia. In 2015, smoke from widespread fires affected the air environment of regional countries including Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.-VNA


Malaysia May Become Hazy Again As Forest Fires Are Spreading Fast in Indonesia

Malaysia May Become Hazy Again As Forest Fires Are Spreading Fast in Indonesia

July 20, 2018, By Tara Thiagarajan

According to the New Straits Times, West Kalimantan, Indonesia has reportedly been enduring some hot weather as of late, triggering a number of forest fires. It was reported that 194 hot spots were detected yesterday evening (19th July).

Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Unit revealed that chances for forest fires to occur in this region are very high as of yesterday, according to the most recent graphic published on their website.

Forest Fires in Kalimantan Could Bring Haze to Malaysia Soon - WORLD OF BUZZ

Source: Indonesia Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Unit
According to NST, out of the 194 hot spots in Kalimantan, 69 of them were categorized as high-risk areas where forest fires are very likely to occur, while 47 were rated with a moderate chance of developing fires.

On top of that, forest fires spreading across hundreds of hectares have also been raging in Sumatra because of the hot weather, prompting authorities to double down on efforts to put out the blaze. Also, 11 helicopters are reportedly being used to extinguish the fires. Yikes, this does not look good!

Meanwhile, the director of Sarawak’s Fire and Rescue Department, Nor Hisham Mohammad, told the daily that there have been a total of 112 cases of natural fires reported in the state within the past five days alone (15th to 20th July).

He was quoted as saying, “We have deployed a team to monitor a hotspot location detected in Meludam, Betong. We advise the public to cease any open-burning activities as it can have an impact not just on the locals, who are exposed to smoke and other pollutants, but may also trigger the haze.”

So, looks like we should prepare ourselves for a possible haze coming over to our shores soon. Hopefully, it won’t be so bad this time!


Forest Fire Begins to Occur in Areas of Indonesia

Editor (ENG) Indra Sutrisno

Editor (INA)Sulha Handayani

SAMPIT, NNC – Land fires began to occur in Sampit, East Kotawaringin District, Central Kalimantan, which allegedly was cauesd by a reduce in rain intensity.

“Land fire occurred at Jenderal Sudirman St. KM 10 with two hotspots,” East Kotawaringin Fire and Rescue Department Chief Rihel said in Sampit.

The fire occured on empty land on the side of the highway. Personnels received information from the public at around 4 p.m and immediately rushed to the location.

The East Kotawaringin Fire and Rescue Department deployed one firetruck. Personnels from the East Kotawaringin Police Resort also rushed to the scene by deploying motorcycles equipped with an extinguisher. East Kotawaringin Resort Police Operational Division Chief Adj. Commissioner Boni Ariefianto came to the scene along with several armed forces and East Kotawaringin Regional Disaster Management Agency personnels.

“We urge the people to take part in preventing land fires. The lack of rainfall has increased the chances of forest and land fire,” Rihel said.

Head of East Kotawaringin Regional Disaster Management Agency Muhammad Yusuf said according to the information from the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency, the peak of dry season is expected to happen in August.

The people of East Kotawaringin must stay alert as the district is included as an area prone to forest and land fires.

“Drought is predicted to start on the third week of this July, possibly somewhere around July 20. Inorder to anticipate it, a forest and land fire emergency alert status is planned to be set mid-July,” Yusuf said Thursday, July 12.

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Efforts made to prevent and fight forest fires

Efforts made to prevent and fight forest fires

Thursday, 2018-07-05 11:13:12

NDO – Most of the forest areas in the Northern and Central regions are at high risk of fire, often at level 5 (extremely dangerous). Forest fires have broken out in some localities, posing an urgent need for the active prevention of forest fires.

In the central province of Nghe An, forest fires broke out in Dien Chau, Yen Thanh, Nam Dan and Quynh Luu districts in the early days of July. According to the provincial Department of Forest Protection, in the coming days, the Foehn wind, caused by the impact of the southeastern edge of the western hot low-pressure area, will continue causing hot weather across the region with temperatures always over 40 degrees Celsius.

Most recently, at about 14.30 on July 3, in Quynh My commune, Quynh Luu district, Nghe An province, a fire broke out in the forest and quickly destroyed 1 hectare of four-year-old acacia forest. Functional forces and around 300 local people were mobilised to control the fire.

In Ha Tinh province, hot and severe weather makes the danger of forest fire a permanent threat. Within 10 days from June 21 to July 1, six forest fires occurred over a total area of over 37 hectares in the province. About 10 hectares of forest was damaged.

The northern mountainous province of Son La is also focusing on many measures and plans to actively prevent and fight forest fires. According to Director of the Forest Protection Department Luong Ngoc Hoan, the province is managing more than 600 hectares of forestry, of which the majority are specialised, mixed, and regenerating forests with a high risk of fire (levels 4 and 5). From the beginning of the year, the province has organised 2,789 grassroots forest ranger teams while more than 88,000 households in the province have signed a commitment to forest protection.

The Vietnam Forestry Administration has sent an urgent message on forest fire prevention and fighting to provinces and cities such as Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Quang Binh, Thua Thien – Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, and Khanh Hoa.

Accordingly, authorities at grassroots levels must promote communication works on fire prevention and fighting among their residents while forces should be ready around the clock in case forest fires occur.

Roles must be assigned among members of all-level steering boards of the national target programme on sustainable forestry development to enhance inspections. Meanwhile, military and police forces were ordered to stand ready to offer assistance in case of fires.

Forest ranger teams should work with people’s committees to direct and examine efforts to prevent forest fires while forest owners are responsible for upgrading their firefighting facilities.

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