Sources of anthropogenic fire ignitions on the peat-swamp landscape in Kalimantan, Indonesia

Megan E. Cattau, Mark E. Harrison, Iwan Shinyo, Sady Tungau, MarĂ­a Uriarte and Ruth DeFries

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


disturbance, fire, human-environment-coupled-system, ignitions, indonesia




Fire disturbance in Southeast Asian tropical peat swamps have become more frequent and extensive in recent decades. These fires compromise a variety of ecosystem services, notably mitigating global climate change through carbon storage, and cause severe health, ecological, and economic impacts. Key to understanding and managing fire in the region is identifying the land use / land cover (LULC) classes associated with fire ignitions. We assess the oft-asserted claim that industrial-scale oil palm concessions and smallholder farms near settlements are the primary ignition sources in a peat-swamp forest area in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, equivalent to around a third of Kalimantan’s total peat area. We use the MODIS Active Fire product from 2000-2010 to evaluate fire origin and spread on the LULC classes of legal oil palm concessions, non-forest (a relatively heterogeneous mixture that includes fern-dominated, shrub/bushland, bare peat, plantations including smallholder and very young oil palm…