Sunday, July 19, 2009

Activists warn of huge forest fires should El Niño occur

Adianto P. Simamora in the Jakarta Post (Indonesia): With severe drought predicted later in the year, environmental activists are urging the government to take swift action to prevent resulting huge forest fires. WWF Indonesia and Forest Watch Indonesia said Friday the government should warn forestry companies, plantations and local people living near forests to stop slash-and-burn methods to clear the land.

“Otherwise, we will suffer again from large-scale forest fires during the El Niño phenomenon this year,” the WWF’s Hariri Dedi told The Jakarta Post. “One thing’s for sure: this year, we’ll have far more forest and land fires than in 2007 and 2008. The peak will be between September and October.” Hariri warned this year’s El Niño would last longer and cause a more severe dry season.

…He said forestry companies and plantations usually took advantage of the dry season to clear-cut forests. “Such slash-and-burn practices occur repeatedly during the dry season, but no big names are jailed as a deterrent to stop forest fires,” he said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono warned Thursday of the return of El Niño, which could cause a long drought running from September 2009 to February 2010. Yudhoyono said the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) would monitor the development of El Niño.

Forest fires are an annual incident across the country during the dry season. In 2006, 145,000 hotspots were detected, making it the second-worst season since 1997….

Haze from burning forests over Sumatra, via NASA

1 comment:

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