The ring of fire: tackling Indonesia’s peatland fire dynamic

Susan Page, Aljosja Hooijer, Ronald Vernimmen, Jukka Miettinen, David Gaveau, Morten Rossé and Thomas E.L. Smith

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


ghg-emissions, indonesia, peat-fire, peat-swamp-forest, tropical-peatland




Peatlands are a significant component of the global carbon (C) cycle, yet despite their role as a long-term C sink, they are increasingly vulnerable to destabilisation. The shift from C sink to source is happening rapidly in SE Asia and particularly in Indonesia, where combined pressures of land use change and fire on peatland C dynamics and their environmental and socio-economic consequences are increasingly apparent. The present-day peat fire dynamic of Indonesia is the consequence of a ‗perfect storm‘ of events providing key ingredients for fire activity, namely an abundance of both fuel and ignition sources. We discuss the link between deforestation, drainage, fire and accelerating C emissions. Using data on fires over the period 2010-2015, the location, scale and controls on peat driven C emissions are addressed. The paper concludes by advocating land management options to reduce future