Peat Forest Fires Obstructing Carbon Emission Cutting Efforts

Source : Antara – September 15, 2011
By Priyambodo RH

The ongoing peat forest fires on Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands may cause Indonesia to miss its carbon emission reduction target, a legislator said.

“The peat forest fires will make it difficult for Indonesia to achieve the target of cutting carbon emissions by 26 percent by 2020 as pledged by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, if the government does not pay serious attention to the problem,” Rofi Munawar, a member of the House of Representatives (DPR)`s Commission IV, said here on Thursday.

Haze has been covering several provinces on Sumatra and Kalimantan Islands since the past week, and it has become worse.

The haze in West Sumatra Province was believed to come from the provinces of Jambi, South Suamtra, Riau and Bengkulu.

On Sumatra Island, there were 200 hot spots, and 70 percent of them were located in South Sumatra.

Peatlands fires must not be regarded a simple problem because it has affected the community and produced a large volume of carbon dioxide gases because peat contains large carbon reserves, he said.

Some parts of Indonesia is prone to forest and peatlands fires during dry season, from July to October annually.

The legislator urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to instruct affected regional authorities and the forestry ministry to deal with the fires.

Indonesia has around 18 million hectares of peatlands, placing the country as the world`s fourth largest peatlands nation after Canada, Russia and the United States.

West Kalimantan has 4.61 million ha of peatlands, Central Kalimantan 2.16 million ha, Riau 1.70 million ha, and South Kalimantan 1.48 million ha.

The government must carry out preventive measures and impose legal enforcement to stop forest fires, the law maker said.(Uu.F001/HAJM/O001)

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