Article

Future fire emissions associated with projected land use change in Sumatra

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Abstract

Indonesia has experienced rapid land use change over the last few decades as forests and peatswamps have been cleared for more intensively managed land uses, including oil palm and timber plantations. Fires are the predominant method of clearing and managing land for more intensive uses, and the related emissions affect public health by contributing to regional particulate matter and ozone concentrations and global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Here, we examine emissions from fires associated with land use clearing and land management on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the sensitivity of this fire activity to interannual meteorological variability. We find ~80% of 2005 to 2009 Sumatra emissions are associated with degradation or land use maintenance instead of immediate land use conversion, especially in dry years. We estimate Sumatra fire emissions from land use change and maintenance for the next two decades with five scenarios of land use change, the Global Fire Emissions Database Version 3, detailed 1-km2 land use change maps, and MODIS fire radiative power observations. Despite comprising only 16% of the original study area, we predict that 37-48% of future Sumatra emissions from land use change will occur in fuel-rich peatswamps unless this land cover type is protected effectively. This result means that the impact of fires on future air quality and climate in Equatorial Asia will be decided in part by the conservation status given to the remaining peatswamps on Sumatra. Results from this paper will be implemented in an atmospheric transport model to quantify the public health impacts from the transport of fire emissions associated with future land use scenarios in Sumatra.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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... Approximately 12% of the Indonesian landmass is covered by peatlands (Hooijer et al., 2010), which are located mainly on the islands of Sumatra (7.1 million hectares), Borneo (6.05 million hectares), and Indonesian Papua (Dommain et al., 2014). Anthropogenic land-use changes have exposed Indonesian peatlands to increasing deforestation and degradation (DeFries & Rosenzweig, 2010;Miettinen et al., 2012b;Marlier et al., 2014;Busch et al., 2015), causing carbon to outgas into the atmosphere as CO 2 and leach, via waterways, into the coastal ocean as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The main reasons for the destabilization of Indonesian peatlands are the exploitation of land for agriculture and industrial oil palm plantations, which entails deforestation, drainage, and fires (Page et al., 2002;Hergoualc'h & Verchot, 2011). ...
... Evidence shows that the current deforestation rate in Indonesian peat swamp forests is between 1.9% yr À1 and 5.0% yr À1 (Hooijer et al., 2006;Murdiyarso et al., 2010;Miettinen et al., 2011Miettinen et al., , 2012aKurnianto et al., 2014;Marlier et al., 2014). For our standard run (SR), we use a deforestation rate of 3.7% yr À1 (Miettinen et al., 2012b), which lies in the middle of the reported range and is therefore considered as the best estimate. ...
... This value may, however, represent a conservative estimate because Miettinen et al. (2012a) recently reported that peat swamp forest deforestation rates are increasing due to accelerated expansion of oil palm and Acacia plantations. To account for the uncertainty in deforestation rate, we run scenarios with deforestation rates of 2.2% yr À1 (Kurnianto et al., 2014;Marlier et al., 2014) and 5.0% yr À1 . A recent study (Moore et al., 2013) indicates that artificially drained peatlands serve as a net carbon source, with 18% of the emission leached into the fluvial system in the form of DOC and the remaining 82% outgassed as CO 2 to the atmosphere (Fig. S7). ...
Article
Tropical peatlands are among the most space-efficient stores of carbon on Earth containing approximately 89 Gt C. Of this, 57 Gt (65%) are stored in Indonesian peatlands. Large-scale exploitation of land, including deforestation and drainage for the establishment of oil palm plantations, is changing the carbon balance of Indonesian peatlands, turning them from a natural sink to a source via outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere and leakage of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into the coastal ocean. The impacts of this perturbation to the coastal environment and at the global scale are largely unknown. Here we evaluate the downstream effects of released Indonesian peat carbon on coastal ecosystems and on the global carbon cycle. We use a biogeochemical box model in combination with novel and literature observations to investigate the impact of different carbon emission scenarios on the combined ocean-atmosphere system. The release of all carbon stored in the Indonesian peat pool, considered as a worst-case scenario, will increase atmospheric pCO2 by 8ppm to 15ppm within the next 200 years. The expected impact on the Java Sea ecosystems is most significant on the short-term (over a few hundred years) and is characterized by an increase of 3.3% phytoplankton, 32% seagrass biomass, and 5% decrease in coral biomass. On the long-term, however, the coastal ecosystems will recover to reach near pre-excursion conditions. Our results suggest that the ultimate fate of the peat carbon is in the deep ocean with 69% of it landing in the deep DIC pool after 1,000 years, but the effects on the global ocean carbonate chemistry will be marginal.
... Agricultural burning across SEA (partially related to palm oil production) is an additional source of air pollution in the region. Marlier et al. (2015b) assessed different land use scenarios across Sumatra to determine their overall influence on current and future fire emissions. They found that the scenario with the highest amount of oil palm had the largest associated fire emissions (100 Tg DM yr -1 ); these fires contribute up to 60% of the total smoke concentrations across equatorial SEA. 5 ...
... The future expansion scenario maps are adapted from Marlier et al. (2015b) and Austin et al. (2015). Marlier et al. (2015b) developed a variety of scenarios at 1km resolution to understand changes in fire emissions associated with land use change Atmos. ...
... The future expansion scenario maps are adapted from Marlier et al. (2015b) and Austin et al. (2015). Marlier et al. (2015b) developed a variety of scenarios at 1km resolution to understand changes in fire emissions associated with land use change Atmos. Chem. ...
Article
Full-text available
Over recent decades oil palm plantations have rapidly expanded across Southeast Asia (SEA). According to the United Nations, oil palm production in SEA increased by a factor of 3 from 1995 to 2010. We investigate the impacts of current (2010) and future (2020) oil palm expansion in SEA on surface-atmosphere exchange and the resulting air quality in the region. For this purpose, we use satellite data, high-resolution land maps, and the chemical transport model GEOS-Chem. Relative to a no oil palm plantation scenario (~ 1990), overall simulated isoprene emissions in the region increase by 13 % due to oil palm plantations in 2010 and a further 11 % by 2020. In addition, the expansion of palm plantations leads to local increases in ozone deposition velocities of up to 20 %. The net result of these changes is that oil palm expansion in SEA increases surface O3 by up to 3.5 ppbv over dense urban regions, and could rise more than 4.5 ppbv above baseline levels by 2020. Biogenic secondary organic aerosol loadings also increase by up to 1 μg m−3 due to oil palm expansion, and could increase a further 2.5 μg m−3 by 2020. Our analysis indicates that while the impact of recent oil palm expansion on air quality in the region has been significant, the retrieval error and sensitivity of the current constellation of satellite measurements limit our ability to observe these impacts from space. Oil palm expansion is likely to continue to degrade air quality in the region in the coming decade and hinder efforts to achieve air quality regulations in major urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
... Approximately 12% of the Indonesian landmass is covered by peatlands (Hooijer et al., 2010), which are located mainly on the islands of Sumatra (7.1 million hectares), Borneo (6.05 million hectares), and Indonesian Papua (Dommain et al., 2014). Anthropogenic land-use changes have exposed Indonesian peatlands to increasing deforestation and degradation (DeFries & Rosenzweig, 2010;Miettinen et al., 2012b;Marlier et al., 2014;Busch et al., 2015), causing carbon to outgas into the atmosphere as CO 2 and leach, via waterways, into the coastal ocean as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The main reasons for the destabilization of Indonesian peatlands are the exploitation of land for agriculture and industrial oil palm plantations, which entails deforestation, drainage, and fires (Page et al., 2002;Hergoualc'h & Verchot, 2011). ...
... Evidence shows that the current deforestation rate in Indonesian peat swamp forests is between 1.9% yr À1 and 5.0% yr À1 (Hooijer et al., 2006;Murdiyarso et al., 2010;Miettinen et al., 2011Miettinen et al., , 2012aKurnianto et al., 2014;Marlier et al., 2014). For our standard run (SR), we use a deforestation rate of 3.7% yr À1 (Miettinen et al., 2012b), which lies in the middle of the reported range and is therefore considered as the best estimate. ...
... This value may, however, represent a conservative estimate because Miettinen et al. (2012a) recently reported that peat swamp forest deforestation rates are increasing due to accelerated expansion of oil palm and Acacia plantations. To account for the uncertainty in deforestation rate, we run scenarios with deforestation rates of 2.2% yr À1 (Kurnianto et al., 2014;Marlier et al., 2014) and 5.0% yr À1 . A recent study (Moore et al., 2013) indicates that artificially drained peatlands serve as a net carbon source, with 18% of the emission leached into the fluvial system in the form of DOC and the remaining 82% outgassed as CO 2 to the atmosphere (Fig. S7). ...
Conference Paper
Tropical peatlands are one of the most space-efficient stores of carbon on the planet, storing approximately 89 Gt of carbon. Indonesian peatlands account for approximately 65% (57 Gt C) of the total tropical peatland carbon pool. Anthropogenic activity has lead to increased degradation of peatlands which results in the outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere and the leakage of DOC into the coastal ocean via riverine runoff. This has turned Indonesian peatlands from a sink of carbon into a significant source of carbon to both the atmosphere and the coastal ocean. The eventual fate and impact of the additional carbon on the downstream ecosystems and regional and global carbon cycles remains to be fully characterized. Using a biogeochemical box model of the Indonesian Carbon System we test the impact of different carbon emission and functioning scenarios on the combined ocean-atmosphere system. A full suite of time series are output,including inorganic nutrient and phytoplankton concentrations, seagrass and coral abundances, alkalinity, dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC), pH, pCO2 for sea water, saturation state, fluxes, and atmospheric CO2. Here we present the results of the modeling study concerning (1) the effect on atmospheric pCO2, (2) the effect on oceanic pCO2 and the resulting change in pH and saturation state, (3) the effect on biomass distribution in the Indonesian coastal ocean, and (4) the final destination of the additional fluvial carbon.
... Approximately 12% of the Indonesian landmass is covered by peatlands (Hooijer et al., 2010), which are located mainly on the islands of Sumatra (7.1 million hectares), Borneo (6.05 million hectares), and Indonesian Papua (Dommain et al., 2014). Anthropogenic land-use changes have exposed Indonesian peatlands to increasing deforestation and degradation (DeFries & Rosenzweig, 2010; Miettinen et al., 2012b; Marlier et al., 2014; Busch et al., 2015), causing carbon to outgas into the atmosphere as CO 2 and leach, via waterways, into the coastal ocean as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The main reasons for the destabilization of Indonesian peatlands are the exploitation of land for agriculture and industrial oil palm plantations, which entails deforestation , drainage, and fires (Page et al., 2002; Hergoualc'h & Verchot, 2011). ...
... Given the uncertainties in the size of the peat carbon pool, our aim is not to pin down the exact magnitude of carbon chemistry changes that will take place over hundreds of years, but rather to consider the maximum degree of perturbations that may occur. Evidence shows that the current deforestation rate in Indonesian peat swamp forests is between 1.9% yr À1 and 5.0% yr À1 (Hooijer et al., 2006; Murdiyarso et al., 2010; Miettinen et al., 2011 Miettinen et al., , 2012a Kurnianto et al., 2014; Marlier et al., 2014). For our standard run (SR), we use a deforestation rate of 3.7% yr À1 (Miettinen et al., 2012b), which lies in the middle of the reported range and is therefore considered as the best estimate . ...
... This value may, however, represent a conservative estimate because Miettinen et al. (2012a) recently reported that peat swamp forest deforestation rates are increasing due to accelerated expansion of oil palm and Acacia plantations. To account for the uncertainty in deforestation rate, we run scenarios with deforestation rates of 2.2% yr À1 (Kurnianto et al., 2014; Marlier et al., 2014) and 5.0% yr À1 (Miettinen et al., 2011). A recent study (Moore et al., 2013 ) indicates that artificially drained peatlands serve as a net carbon source, with 18% of the emission leached into the fluvial system in the form of DOC and the remaining 82% outgassed as CO 2 to the atmosphere (Fig. S7). ...
Conference Paper
Peatlands are composed of organic-rich soils and are esti- mated to store approximately 600 Gt of carbon globally. In- donesian peatlands store approximately 33.7 GtC, which is 6% of the carbon stored in peatlands globally. Land use change due to human influence has lead to increasing degradation which re- sults in the outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere and the leakage of DOC into the coastal ocean via riverine runoff. The additional input of carbon will have effects on the down- stream ecosystems, which include seagrasses, coral reefs and plankton. The final destination of the leaked DOC is largely unknown, but previous studies have estimated that about half of the DOC reaches the coastal ocean. Here we present the pre- liminary results of a modeling study concerning (1) the effects that these perturbations can have on ocean chemistry and at- mospheric pCO2 and (2) the possible biogeochemical feedbacks. Our work provides quantitative information that can help in the development of mitigation strategies.
... Indonesia seperti beberapa negara tropis lainnya mengalami penurunan areal tutupan hutan untuk kepentingan ekspor produk pertanian dan perkebunan (Margono et al. 2012;Villamor et al. 2015). Ekspansi perkebunan kelapa sawit dan HTI berperan penting dalam pengunaan lahan yang dikelola secara intensif di Indonesia selama beberapa dekade terakhir (Wicke et al. 2011;Marlier et al. 2015). Pengembangan HTI dilatar belakangi oleh hutan produksi yang tidak produktif serta insentif dari pemerintah yang menarik sektor swasta untuk mengembangkan HTI. ...
... Pembakaran hutan dan lahan juga dilakukan untuk mengembangkan kelapa sawit dan HTI (Suyanto et al. 2004). Hingga tahun 2019, emisi rata-rata yang dihasilkan dari aktivitas pengelolaan lahan telah membawa Indonesia menjadi emitter terbesar di dunia yang berdampak pada kualitas udara dalam skala lokal dan regional, kesehatan masyarakat, dan iklim (Marlier et al. 2015;FAOSTAT 2020). ...
... Indonesia merupakan salah satu negara yang mengalami perluasan perkebunan tercepat di dunia (Carlson et al. 2012). Perluasan perkebunan kelapa sawit dan hutan tanaman industri telah memainkan peran penting dalam penggunaan lahan yang dikelola secara intensif di seluruh Indonesia selama beberapa dekade terakhir (Wicke et al. 2011;Marlier et al. 2015). Pembangunan HTI dipicu oleh banyaknya hutan produksi yang tidak produktif dan insentif yang menarik pihak swasta (Kartodihardjo dan Supriono 2000). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
As a country considered as land-based economic resources, Indonesia has shown that the expansion of plantation areas and Industrial Plantation Forests (HTI) in this country is growing rapidly. These sectors provide economic solutions and fulfill the market needs. However, environmental degradation and social conflicts caused by the land changes are against the goal of sustainability. The use of the land itself is a manifestation of power competition between actors with an interest in land. In the process of land allocation, various actors with an interest in land will compete with the power they have. The most powerful actors will take control of the land-use based on their decisions. Therefore, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of Indonesia's land cover and land-use changes, identification is needed to reveal the trends. It will also show how big the land cover and land-use changes, the land-use conditions at the site level as well as the understanding of the strong actors determining the process. This study has a general objective to explain land-use and land cover changes spatially and to describe the dynamics of the actors’ power in the land-use for oil palm and HTI plantations. These research objectives can be achieved through intermediate objectives namely: (1) Understanding the process of land cover and land-use change and its actors in an empirical case study; (2)Produce a map of land-use change from 1990-2019; (3) Describing the powerdynamics of actors through ACP and SNA approach and identify the most powerfulactors. This study was conducted in three stages; systematic review, spatial analysis, analysis of the actors’ strength and social networks. This systematic review is an approach to determine the limits of existing knowledge so that further research builds on that knowledge. This study used a spatial approach to determine the locations that have experienced changes, the extent to which changes in the landscape have occurred, transitions of land-use changes, and the most critical changes in a certain period. It aims to understand the magnitude of the impact caused by the actor and what conditions affect the land change over a certain period. Image interpretation carried out in this study is visual interpretation (digitization on-screen) to classify land cover into several classes and perform accuracy tests based on the coordinates taken in the field. The final stage of this research is the analysis of the actors’ power and their networks by combining the Actor Centered Power (ACP) and Social Network Analysis (SNA) approaches. The combination of these approaches is a form of developing an analysis of the actors’ power in contesting the use of land resources. The case study was conducted in Bengkalis Island, Riau. Actors and their relationships were obtained through literature studies, semi-structured interviews with snowball sampling techniques, observation, and triangulation. The results of this study indicate that the direct causes of landscape changes in Sumatra and Kalimantan are dominated by oil palm plantation expansion, timber extraction/logging, and HTI expansion. This condition is affected by institutional and policy factors produced by the government. The issue of land ownership and the weakness of government institutions in carrying out its role as the highest hierarchy in control of land governance are the major causes of the uncontrolled landscape changes in the two regions. All aspects that cause landscape change are the result of the roles of the actors in it. Local and national governments are the actors that most contributed to landscape change through the policies and decisions they make. Farming communities (both indigenous and non-native) and companies are the actors who mostly carry out activities that directly cause changes in the landscape. On Bengkalis Island, a very significant decrease in forest cover began in 1990, followed by an increase in community-managed mixed gardens and oil palm plantations, both managed by large-scale companies and independent companies. On 2019, the forest cover on the island, which is one of the Hydrological Peat Areas (KHG), was only left to 10% of the total island area. The institutional problems in this area have led to the formation of informal networks for land management. Based on this finding, the most powerful actors in the land-use contestation process came from the actors at the site level, not the central government who holds the highest authority in controlling land governance. The site actors namely farmer activists and village officials, have been the most powerful actors in two different periods. This is based on the value obtained from the analysis of the two actors. Farmer activists have the highest eigenvector value and have the potential to be leaders. Meanwhile, the village officials with the highest betweenness values were found to be manipulating information to develop oil palm plantations in smallholder management areas that overlap with HTI concessions. SNA is a robust framework for developing ACP theoretical frameworks in analyzing actor’s power. SNA can explain several concepts that could not be covered by ACP, including: (1) In comparison to strong ties, the weak ties could encourage the formation of collective action because these ties encourage broader relationships with more diverse actor (the strength of weak ties), (2) SNA describes that an actor can use his power against other actors without interacting directly (action at a distance); (3) SNA can describe that the source of power between one actor and another is interlinked. To improve the condition of land governance by using a network perspective, the governments as decision-makers and generate policy should understand social network analysis in policy processes. This understanding serves to produce policy interventions that focus on central actors. Farmer activists are central actors who have the potential to become opinion leaders in a collaborative forum to improve land governance. In contrast to the village officials who play a role as intermediaries, while taken advantage of their position to manipulate information through the issuance of land legality documents need to be coerced by actors who develop and implement laws in Indonesia. Keywords: Actor Centered Power, land governance, spatial analysis, Social Network Analysis, systematic review
... According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO, 2015), palm oil production in SEA has grown by a factor of 5 over the past 20 years. By 2020, the total area occupied by oil palm plantations in SEA is expected to increase even further (Austin et al., 2015; Marlier et al., 2015b). This represents a significant and rapid change in land use over a relatively small region. ...
... Agricultural burning across SEA (partially related to palm oil production) is an additional source of air pollution in the region. Marlier et al. (2015b) assessed different land use scenarios across Sumatra to determine their overall influence on current and future fire emissions. They found that the scenario with the highest amount of oil palm had the largest associated fire emissions (100 Tg DM yr −1 ); these fires contribute up to 60 % of the total smoke concentrations across equatorial SEA. ...
... modern-day scenario, we use a land use map developed by Miettinen et al. (2012), which describes land use across insular SEA (−10 to 10 @BULLET N, 95 to 140 @BULLET E) in 2010 on a 250 m grid, and includes a land classification for palm plantations . The future expansion scenario maps are adapted from Marlier et al. (2015b) and Austin et al. (2015). Marlier et al. (2015b developed a variety of scenarios at 1 km resolution to understand changes in fire emissions associated with land use change in Sumatra. We use the " High oil palm " scenario to represent a realistic upper limit on the 2020 distribution of Sumatran oil palm. This map was reported originally as the probability that a given grid box will c ...
Article
Full-text available
Over recent decades oil palm plantations have rapidly expanded across Southeast Asia (SEA). According to the United Nations, oil palm production in SEA increased by a factor of 3 from 1995 to 2010. We investigate the impacts of current (2010) and near-term future (2020) projected oil palm expansion in SEA on surface–atmosphere exchange and the resulting air quality in the region. For this purpose, we use satellite data, high-resolution land maps, and the chemical transport model GEOS-Chem. Relative to a no oil palm plantation scenario (∼ 1990), overall simulated isoprene emissions in the region increased by 13 % due to oil palm plantations in 2010 and a further 11 % in the near-term future. In addition, the expansion of palm plantations leads to local increases in ozone deposition velocities of up to 20 %. The net result of these changes is that oil palm expansion in SEA increases surface O3 by up to 3.5 ppbv over dense urban regions, and in the near-term future could rise more than 4.5 ppbv above baseline levels. Biogenic secondary organic aerosol loadings also increase by up to 1 µg m−3 due to oil palm expansion, and could increase by a further 2.5 µg m−3 in the near-term future. Our analysis indicates that while the impact of recent oil palm expansion on air quality in the region has been significant, the retrieval error and sensitivity of the current constellation of satellite measurements limit our ability to observe these impacts from space. Oil palm expansion is likely to continue to degrade air quality in the region in the coming decade and hinder efforts to achieve air quality regulations in major urban areas such as Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
... The peatland forests are being cleared for the cultivation of agricultural commodities and oil palm plantations, particularly in Kalimantan and Sumatra. Indonesia's peat swamp forests are being deforested at an estimated rate between 1.9% and 5.0% per year (Hooijer et al., 2006;Murdiyarso et al., 2010;Miettinen et al., 2011Miettinen et al., , 2012aMarlier et al., 2015;Kurnianto et al., 2015). According to a study by Hooijer et al. (2006), a total of 12.9 Mha or 47% of peatland forests in Southeast Asia had been deforested, and approximately 11.1 Mha of peatland had been drained. ...
... Approximately 12 % of Indonesian landmass is covered by peatlands (Hooijer et al., 2010), which is located mainly on the islands of Sumatra (7.1 million hectares), Kalimantan (6.05 million hectares), and Indonesian Papua (Dommain et al., 2014). Anthropogenic land-use changes have exposed Indonesian peatlands to increasing deforestation and degradation (DeFries and Rosenzweig, 2010;Miettinen et al., 2012b;Marlier et al., 2015;Busch et al., 2015), causing carbon to outgas into the atmosphere as CO 2 and leach, via waterways, into the coastal ocean as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). The main reasons for the destabilization of Indonesian peatlands are the exploitation of land for agriculture and industrial oil palm plantations, which entails deforestation, drainage and fires (Hergoualc'h and Verchot, 2011;Page et al., 2002). ...
... Evidence shows that the current deforestation rate in Indonesian peat swamp forests is between 1.9 % yr −1 and 5.0 % yr −1 (Hooijer et al., 2006;Murdiyarso et al., 2010;Miettinen et al., 2011Miettinen et al., , 2012aMarlier et al., 2015;Kurnianto et al., 2015). For our standard run (SR) we use a deforestation rate of 3.7 % yr −1 (Miettinen et al., 2012b), which lies in the middle of the reported range and is therefore considered as best estimate. ...
Thesis
Full-text available
In recent years, there has been intense media attention concerning the outbreaks of devastating forest fires in Indonesia. These fires are fueled by forest wood and peat and emit large amounts of carbon to the atmosphere. Peatlands are a unique unbalanced ecosystem composed of organic-rich soils and are estimated to store approximately 600 Gt of carbon globally. Tropical peatlands are among the most space-efficient stores of carbon on Earth containing approximately 89 Gt C. Of this, 57 Gt (65%) are stored in Indonesian peatlands. Indonesian peatlands are one of the largest modern day near-surface reservoirs of terrestrial carbon, with accumulation that began as early as 22 thousand years ago and continued throughout the Pleistocene and Holocene. Despite the highly important and relevant carbon pool in peat swamp forests, they are largely neglected when modeling the past and present global carbon cycle. The forested tropical peatlands in Indonesia have been identified as a particularly crucial source of uncertainty in global carbon cycle models. In order to refine predictions of future and past climate change, this research will quantify the release of carbon from the Indonesian peatlands to better explain the effects that excess carbon has on the downstream marine ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. Currently, large-scale exploitation of land, including deforestation and drainage for the establishment of oil palm plantations, is changing the carbon balance of Indonesian peatlands, turning them from a previous sink to a source via outgassing of CO2 to the atmosphere and leakage of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) into the coastal ocean. The impacts of this perturbation to the coastal environment and the global climate are largely unknown. I use a biogeochemical box model in combination with novel observations and literature data to investigate the impact of different carbon emission scenarios on the combined ocean-atmosphere system.
... Fires also occur from vandalism and accidental ignitions (Dennis et al 2005, Gaveau et al 2014a. Fire emission levels are greatest from degraded peatlands, especially in dry years (Marlier et al 2015a(Marlier et al , 2015b. In 2006, burning in industrial concessions to clear land for oil palm and timber plantations accounted for ∼40% of total fire emissions in Sumatra and ∼25% in Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) (Marlier et al 2015c). ...
... In this study, we demonstrate the potential of a new analytical framework to rapidly assess in near real-time the emission sources and health impacts of an ongoing smoke episode in Equatorial Asia. The framework, presented here all together for the first time, integrates information on (1) fire emissions related to land cover and land use (Marlier et al 2015a(Marlier et al , 2015b(Marlier et al , 2015c, (2) meteorological drivers of smoke transport, (3) domestic and transboundary source-receptor relationships, which quantify the sensitivity of PM 2.5 concentrations in receptor areas to the specific locations of fire emissions (Kim et al 2015, Marlier et al 2015a, 2015c, and (4) health impact functions incorporating regionally specific data on mortality rates, age structure, and population. Previous efforts to quantify health impacts from biomass burning in Equatorial Asia have proven computationally expensive (e.g., Johnston et al 2012, Marlier et al 2013. ...
Article
Full-text available
In September–October 2015, El Niño and positive Indian Ocean Dipole conditions set the stage for massive fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), leading to persistently hazardous levels of smoke pollution across much of Equatorial Asia. Here we quantify the emission sources and health impacts of this haze episode and compare the sources and impacts to an event of similar magnitude occurring under similar meteorological conditions in September–October 2006. Using the adjoint of the GEOS-Chem chemical transport model, we first calculate the influence of potential fire emissions across the domain on smoke concentrations in three receptor areas downwind—Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore—during the 2006 event. This step maps the sensitivity of each receptor to fire emissions in each grid cell upwind. We then combine these sensitivities with 2006 and 2015 fire emission inventories from the Global Fire Assimilation System (GFAS) to estimate the resulting population-weighted smoke exposure. This method, which assumes similar smoke transport pathways in 2006 and 2015, allows near real-time assessment of smoke pollution exposure, and therefore the consequent morbidity and premature mortality, due to severe haze. Our approach also provides rapid assessment of the relative contribution of fire emissions generated in a specific province to smoke-related health impacts in the receptor areas. We estimate that haze in 2015 resulted in 100 300 excess deaths across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, more than double those of the 2006 event, with much of the increase due to fires in Indonesia's South Sumatra Province. The model framework we introduce in this study can rapidly identify those areas where land use management to reduce and/or avoid fires would yield the greatest benefit to human health, both nationally and regionally.
... However, much evidence still points to small-and mid-scale farmers outside of large concessions as the main contributors to fire. For example, although concessions do contribute substantially to emissions, particularly in peatlands and non-forested areas, the majority of emissions can be attributed to fires outside of concessions in both Sumatra and Kalimantan (Marlier et al., 2015b). Additionally, it is often complicated to attribute ignitions to agro-industrial plantations or to local communities because communities can be given land to plant within concession boundaries (Gaveau et al., 2014). ...
... While there is potential for oil palm concessions from converted degraded land to reduce fire prevalence on the landscape if ignitions on oil palm concessions can be reduced relative to degraded areas, this is not currently the case; ignition density in oil palm was on par with that in degraded areas, both of which were substantially higher than in forests. Although fires that have escaped from oil palm currently constitute a small percentage of fires in the study area relative to fires on degraded non-forest areas, our findings nevertheless support concerns about the contribution of the oil palm industry to emissions and hazardous smog in the region (e.g., Stuart, 2012;Marlier et al., 2015b). Furthermore, our results likely underestimate the number of ignitions attributable to oil palm companies and overestimate the contribution from other LULC classes, as our oil palm category includes only those plantations found within the reported boundaries of legal oil palm concessions. ...
... The country has also pledged to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, largely by reducing deforestation, and forest and peat-land degradation . In addition, issues concerning burning of forests and peat land are of great relevance (Marlier et al. 2015). Growing oil palm in Malaysia and Indonesia may become difficult as climate change (CC) progresses. ...
... It is conceivable that E. guineensis provides a large carbon sink, but planting does not, in fact, compensate for the removal of the indigenous plants and would contribute to CC (Fargione et al. 2008;Danielsen et al. 2009;Ziegler et al. 2012;Austin et al. 2015;Busch et al. 2015). Most oil palm expansion in Indonesia has occurred at the expense of forests, resulting in significant GHG emissions and fires (Marlier et al. 2015). Indeed, the decrease of CO 2 emissions in the period from 2000 to 2012 is possibly due to the enforcement of a moratorium on deforestation. ...
Article
The production of palm oil (PO) is highly profitable. The economies of the principal producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, and others, benefit considerably. Climate change (CC) will most likely have an impact on the distribution of oil palms (OP) (Elaeis guineensis). Here we present modelled CC projections with respect to the suitability of growing OP, in Malaysia and Indonesia. A process-oriented niche model of OP was developed using CLIMEX to estimate its potential distribution under current and future climate scenarios. Two Global Climate Models (GCMs), CSIRO-Mk3.0 and MIROC-H, were used to explore the impacts of CC under the A1B and A2 scenarios for 2030, 2070 and 2100. Decreases in climatic suitability for OP in the region were gradual by 2030 but became more pronounced by 2100. These projections imply that OP growth will be affected severely by CC, with obvious implications to the economies of (a) Indonesia and Malaysia and (b) the PO industry, but with potential benefits towards reducing CC. A possible remedial action is to concentrate research on development of new varieties of OP that are less vulnerable to CC.
... Understanding the meteorological pathways of severe haze events in this region has particular importance as the population continues to grow rapidly, and land clearing for agricultural use expands. By 2030, fire emissions from agricultural activities in Sumatra are expected to more than double (Marlier et al., 2015a). While the regional smoke events of 1997, 2006, and 2015 have received significant attention, there is far less literature documenting drivers of severe smoke episodes during nondrought conditions in Indonesia, such as the June 2013 haze in Singapore. ...
... Improving scientific understanding of these and other aspects of MJO dynamics is a top research priority in the tropical meteorology community and is a major focus of an upcoming international field campaign, Years of the Maritime Continent, planned for 2017-2019 (http://www.bmkg.go.id/ymc/). Future trajectories of land use change in Riau may result in increased fire emissions due to continued agricultural management and expansion (Marlier et al., 2015a(Marlier et al., , 2015b(Marlier et al., , 2015c. Recent work also suggests an increased frequency of MJO events in a warmer, more moist climate (Arnold et al., 2015), which would make extreme haze occurrences over the Malay Peninsula increasingly likely. ...
Article
In June 2013, the Malay Peninsula experienced severe smoke pollution, with daily surface particulate matter (PM) concentrations in Singapore greater than 350 μg/m³, over 2 times the air quality standard for daily mean PM10 set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Unlike most haze episodes in the Malay Peninsula in recent decades (e.g., the September 2015 event), the June 2013 haze occurred in the absence of an El Niño, during negative Indian Ocean Dipole conditions, with smoke carried eastward to the Peninsula from fires in the Riau province of central Sumatra. We show that June 2013 was not an exceptional event; inspection of visibility data during 2005–2015 reveals two other severe haze events in the Malay Peninsula (August 2005 and October 2010) occurring under similar conditions. Common to all three events was a combination of anomalously strong westerly winds over Riau province concurrent with late phases of the Real-Time Multivariate Madden-Julian Oscillation Index, during negative phases of the Indian Ocean Dipole. Our work suggests that identifying the meteorological mechanism driving these westerly wind anomalies could help stakeholders prepare for future non-El Niño haze events in Singapore and the Malay Peninsula.
... CC is caused to a large extent by emissions of CO 2 ; however, forests are a sink for CO 2 and Malaysia and Indonesia have extensive tropical forests. Indonesia had the highest rate of forest cover loss from 2000 to 2012 5 from conversion to, amongst other crops, OP plantations 40 . In addition, the peat reserves in SE Asia have an even greater capacity to retain CO 2 but are cleared for OP plantations. ...
... In addition, the peat reserves in SE Asia have an even greater capacity to retain CO 2 but are cleared for OP plantations. Forest destruction has a large climate impact, especially for those on peatlands 41 , where CO 2 is released into the atmosphere and contributes to global warming when these two resources are burned 40 . Indonesia is the third largest global emitter of CO 2 because of this and the high carbon stocks in above-ground and subterranean pools 5,42 . ...
Article
Full-text available
The production of palm oil (PO) is highly profitable. The economies of the principal producers, Malaysia and Indonesia, and others, benefit considerably. Climate change (CC) will most likely have an impact on the distribution of oil palms (OP) (Elaeis guineensis). Here we present modelled CC projections with respect to the suitability of growing OP, in Malaysia and Indonesia. A processoriented niche model of OP was developed using CLIMEX to estimate its potential distribution under current and future climate scenarios. Two Global Climate Models (GCMs), CSIRO-Mk3.0 and MIROC-H, were used to explore the impacts of CC under the A1B and A2 scenarios for 2030, 2070 and 2100. Decreases in climatic suitability for OP in the region were gradual by 2030 but became more pronounced by 2100. These projections imply that OP growth will be affected severely by CC, with obvious implications to the economies of (a) Indonesia and Malaysia and (b) the PO industry, but with potential benefits towards reducing CC. A possible remedial action is to concentrate research on development of new varieties of OP that are less vulnerable to CC.
... Indonesia has undergone one of the fastest plantation expansions in the world (Carlson et al., 2012). The expansion of oil palm and industrial plantation forests has played an essential role in intensive land use management throughout the country over the past few decades (Marlier et al., 2015;Wicke et al., 2011). Industrial plantation forest development led to large swaths of unproductive forests and incentives that attract private sectors (Kartodihardjo and Supriono, 2000). ...
... Fires used to establish and maintain these plantations (Suyanto et al., 2004) because this method is cheap and easy (Purnomo et al., 2017b). The ensuing emissions can affect local and regional air quality, public health, and climate (Marlier et al., 2015). The distribution of peatlands with oil palm and industrial plantation forest concessions was overlayed; as a result, 21% and 26% of such concessions are located on peatlands, respectively (Abood et al., 2015). ...
Article
Indonesia has experienced one of the world's fastest plantation expansions. Plantation growth is indeed an economic solution to meet the market's needs, but the accompanying environmental damage and social conflict are at odds with sustainability goals. Various actors with interests in land compete with the power they have. The most powerful actors have controlled land use based on their decisions. Accordingly, this paper presents empirical evidence to understand the important role of powerful actors in land-use contestation in oil palm and industrial plantation forests. It focused on analyzing power actors and social networks to help policymakers understand these powerful actors and take steps toward good governance. We conducted a focus group discussion (FGD), field interviews, and observations as well as implemented the actor-centered power (ACP) approach and social networks analysis (SNA). The combination of these two methods aims to improve the ACP approach by explaining how actors form coalitions with one another so that the strongest and most prominent beneficiary actors can be identified. We found that actors at the site level are powerful actors, whereas those with the highest authority in the hierarchy do not have power in land-use control. Village officials are powerful actors, as they are the central figures in the network and mostly use dominant information to weaken other actors. Village officials with strategic positions in the network have the most connections and play a bridging role between actors from different subgroups in the network. Powerful actors who can control the use of natural resources must be involved in determining strategies to improve natural resource governance and implement such a process at the site level.
... Different models have been developed to deal with Indonesian fires by incorporating range of factors (de Groot et al., 2007;Lestari et al., 2014;Sudiana, Kuze, Takeuchi, & Burgan, 2003). Social factors, which their link to fire accidents is widely recognized (Chisholm, Wijedasa, & Swinfield, 2016;Marlier et al., 2015b), so far are not sufficiently observed in terms of their spatial relationship with fire distribution. A deeper investigation is then urgently required to better understand the relationship. ...
Article
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In recent years, fires regularly and extensively took place in Indonesian forest and peatland, inducing a wide range of environmental and economic impacts, particularly the very bad air quality due to smoke haze and the considerable increase of carbon emissions. The causal relationship between Indonesian fires and human intervention has been widely recognized; however, their spatial relationship is still insufficiently observed. This study examines how well the distribution of fire hotspot can be explained by variables indicating human activities, with a case study in Central Kalimantan Indonesia. This study involves five proxy variables for human activities (land uses, land status, distance to road, distance to settlement, and distance to river), in addition to elevation, slope, and one variable pertaining to the existence of peatland. This study hence provides a model for fire hotspot distribution that would be a valuable approach to identify fire risk distribution and subsequently to support fire control, which is currently the most crucial foundation for the success of peatland restoration program in Indonesia.
... These findings underscore the need to focus fire prevention on peatlands. Prohibiting development of timber or oil palm concessions on forested peatlands would reduce future fire risk and associated air quality issues [21,22] as well as preventing substantial emissions of carbon dioxide [23]. The Indonesian Moratorium includes peatlands and many major companies are beginning to take action, and some have committed to zero-deforestation. ...
Article
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Forest and peatland fires in Indonesia emit large quantities of smoke leading to poor air quality across Equatorial Asia. Marlier et al (2015 Environ. Res. Lett. 10 085005) explore the contribution of fires occurring on oil palm, timber (wood pulp and paper) and natural forest logging concessions to smoke emissions and exposure of human populations to the resulting air pollution. They find that one third of the population exposure to smoke across Equatorial Asia is caused by fires in oil palm and timber concessions in Sumatra and Kalimantan. Logging concessions have substantially lower fire emissions, and contribute less to air quality degradation. This represents a compelling justification to prevent reclassification of logging concessions into oil palm or timber concessions after logging. This can be achieved by including logged forests in the Indonesian moratorium on new plantations in forested areas.
... For example, peat fires in tropics are mainly due to intentional drainage followed by burning to remove a (logged) forest (thus anthropogenic, e.g. Marlier et al., 2015 ), while in northern high-latitude regions , peatland fires might be due to drought (thus natural, e.g. Turetsky et al., 2011). ...
Article
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Carbon dioxide emissions from wild and anthropogenic fires return the carbon absorbed by plants to the atmosphere, and decrease the sequestration of carbon by land ecosystems. Future climate warming will likely increase the frequency of fire-triggering drought, so that the future terrestrial carbon uptake will depend on how fires respond to altered climate variation. In this study, we modelled the role of fires in the global terrestrial carbon balance for 1901–2012, using the ORCHIDEE global vegetation model equipped with the SPITFIRE model. We conducted two simulations with and without the fire module being activated, using a static land cover. The simulated global fire carbon emissions for 1997–2009 are 2.1 Pg C yr−1, which is close to the 2.0 Pg C yr−1 as estimated by GFED3.1. The simulated land carbon uptake after accounting for emissions for 2003–2012 is 3.1 Pg C yr−1, which is within the uncertainty of the residual carbon sink estimation (2.8 ± 0.8 Pg C yr−1). Fires are found to reduce the terrestrial carbon uptake by 0.32 Pg C yr−1 over 1901–2012, or 20% of the total carbon sink in a world without fire. The fire-induced land sink reduction (SRfire) is significantly correlated with climate variability, with larger sink reduction occurring in warm and dry years, in particular during El Niño events. Our results suggest a "fire respiration partial compensation". During the 10 lowest SRfire years (SRfire = 0.17 Pg C yr−1), fires mainly compensate for the heterotrophic respiration that would occur in a world without fire. By contrast, during the 10 highest SRfire fire years (SRfire = 0.49 Pg C yr−1), fire emissions far exceed their respiration partial compensation and create a larger reduction in terrestrial carbon uptake. Our findings have important implications for the future role of fires in the terrestrial carbon balance, because the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems to sequester carbon will be diminished by future climate change characterized by increased frequency of droughts and extreme El Niño events.
... These findings underscore the need to focus fire prevention on peatlands. Prohibiting development of timber or oil palm concessions on forested peatlands would reduce future fire risk and associated air quality issues [21,22] as well as preventing substantial emissions of carbon dioxide [23]. The Indonesian Moratorium includes peatlands and many major companies are beginning to take action, and some have committed to zero-deforestation. ...
Article
Full-text available
Fire emissions associated with land cover change and land management contribute to the concentrations of atmospheric pollutants, which can affect regional air quality and climate. Mitigating these impacts requires a comprehensive understanding of the relationship between fires and different land cover change trajectories and land management strategies. We develop future fire emissions inventories from 2010–2030 for Sumatra and Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo) to assess the impact of varying levels of forest and peatland conservation on air quality in Equatorial Asia. To compile these inventories, we combine detailed land cover information from published maps of forest extent, satellite fire radiative power observations, fire emissions from the Global Fire Emissions Database, and spatially explicit future land cover projections using a land cover change model. We apply the sensitivities of mean smoke concentrations to Indonesian fire emissions, calculated by the GEOS-Chem adjoint model, to our scenario-based future fire emissions inventories to quantify the different impacts of fires on surface air quality across Equatorial Asia. We find that public health impacts are highly sensitive to the location of fires, with emissions from Sumatra contributing more to smoke concentrations at population centers across the region than Kalimantan, which had higher emissions by more than a factor of two. Compared to business-as-usual projections, protecting peatlands from fires reduces smoke concentrations in the cities of Singapore and Palembang by 70% and 40%, and by 60% for the Equatorial Asian region, weighted by the population in each grid cell. Our results indicate the importance of focusing conservation priorities on protecting both forested (intact or logged) peatlands and non-forested peatlands from fire, even after considering potential leakage of deforestation pressure to other areas, in order to limit the impact of fire emissions on atmospheric smoke concentrations and subsequent health effects.
... The emissions from fires and smokes often cause regional problems of air quality. Marlier et al. [41] pointed out an important finding that ca. 80% of 2005-2009 fire emissions from Sumatra were related to degradation or land use maintenance. ...
... Factors underlying fires in this region, especially exposure of large amounts of peat following forest clearing, exacerbate the potential severity of the burning and subsequent emissions (Marlier et al 2014, but it is natural climate variability that drives the timing and scale of these events (Chen et al 2011(Chen et al , 2016. Fire variability in other regions has also been connected to the El Niño/southern oscillation (ENSO) (e.g. ...
Article
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Connections between wildfires and modes of variability in climate are sought as a means for predicting fire activity on interannual to multi-decadal timescales. Several fire drivers, such as temperature and local drought index, have been shown to vary on these timescales, and analysis of tree-ring data suggests covariance between fires and climate oscillation indices in some regions. However, the shortness of the satellite record of global fire events limits investigations on larger spatial scales. Here we explore the interplay between climate variability and wildfire emissions with the preindustrial long control numerical experiments and historical ensembles of CESM1 and the NOAA/GFDL ESM2Mb. We find that interannual variability in fires is underpredicted in both Earth System models (ESMs) compared to present day fire emission inventories. Modeled fire emissions respond to the El Niño/southern oscillation (ENSO) and Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO) with increases in southeast Asia and boreal North America emissions, and decreases in southern North America and Sahel emissions, during the ENSO warm phase in both ESMs, and the PDO warm phase in CESM1. Additionally, CESM1 produces decreases in boreal northern hemisphere fire emissions for the warm phase of the Atlantic Meridional Oscillation. Through analysis of the long control simulations, we show that the 20th century trends in both ESMs are statistically significant, meaning that the signal of anthropogenic activity on fire emissions over this time period is detectable above the annual to decadal timescale noise. However, the trends simulated by the two ESMs are of opposite sign (CESM1 decreasing, ESM2Mb increasing), highlighting the need for improved understanding, proxy observations, and modeling to resolve this discrepancy.
... The South Sumatera peatlands have been degraded in the past two decades due to deforestation, illegal logging, and man-made fires (Miettinen et al., 2016;Thorburn and Kull, 2015). The Peat fire event commonly occurs during the dry season from June to November (Miriam E Marlier et al., 2015;Miriam E. Marlier et al., 2015a, 2015b. During the fire events, an incomplete combustion release carbon to the atmosphere and critically contribute to global warming. ...
Article
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The peat fire events in Indonesia, particularly the South Sumatra area, changed the appearance of surface vegetation. The fires usually occur during the dry season from July to October. This study aims to evaluate land cover changes due to 2015’s peat fire in the South Sumatra peatlands. Remote sensing techniques using a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) method were used to identify the change of vegetation density in the study area. The results showed that 69% of the total South Sumatra peatland was burned due to the 2015 peat fire event. The level of vegetation density was considerably decreased by fire events. The degradation in the burned area was dominated by land cover class of ferns/shrub. The Peat fires during the observation period have a negative impact on the peat ecosystem, so improvements are needed in peatland management practices. Improvements need to be made in fire prevention and management practices, as well as restoration of burnt land.
... Indonesia is one of the regions where the expansion of cash crop monocultures such as acacia (timber plantations), rubber, oil palm plantations and smallholder agriculture has drastically reduced the area of primary forest in the last 2.5 decades (Bridhikitti and Overcamp, 2012;Drescher et al., 2016;Marlier et al., 2015;Miettinen et al., 2012;Verstraeten et al., 2005). This large-scale conversion of rainforest for agricultural use has been observed on the island of Sumatra, which has experienced the highest primary rainforest cover loss in all of Indonesia (Drescher et al., 2016;Margono et al., 2012;Miettinen et al., 2011). ...
Article
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Indonesia is currently one of the regions with the highest transformation rate of land surface worldwide related to the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops replacing forests on large scales. Land cover changes, which modify land surface properties, have a direct effect on the land surface temperature (LST), a key driver for many ecological functions. Despite the large historic land transformation in Indonesia toward oil palm and other cash crops and governmental plans for future expansion, this is the first study so far to quantify the impacts of land transformation on the LST in Indonesia. We analyze LST from the thermal band of a Landsat image and produce a high-resolution surface temperature map (30 m) for the lowlands of the Jambi province in Sumatra (Indonesia), a region which suffered large land transformation towards oil palm and other cash crops over the past decades. The comparison of LST, albedo, normalized differenced vegetation index (NDVI) and evapotranspiration (ET) between seven different land cover types (forest, urban areas, clear-cut land, young and mature oil palm plantations, acacia and rubber plantations) shows that forests have lower surface temperatures than the other land cover types, indicating a local warming effect after forest conversion. LST differences were up to 10.1 ± 2.6 • C (mean ± SD) between forest and clear-cut land. The differences in surface temperatures are explained by an evapora-tive cooling effect, which offsets the albedo warming effect. Our analysis of the LST trend of the past 16 years based on MODIS data shows that the average daytime surface temperature in the Jambi province increased by 1.05 • C, which followed the trend of observed land cover changes and exceeded the effects of climate warming. This study provides evidence that the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops leads to changes in biophysical variables, warming the land surface and thus enhancing the increase of the air temperature because of climate change.
... Dampak kebakaran hutan dan lahan berpengaruh secara langsung dan tidak langsung terhadap manusia dan lingkungannya baik di dalam negeri maupun luar negeri (Marlier, Defries, Kim, Koplitz, & Jacob, 2015;Marlier, Defries, Pennington, & Nelson, 2015;Turetsky et al., 2015). Kebakaran pada tahun 2015 telah menyebabkan kerugian ekonomi sebesar USD 16 milyar (World Bank Group, 2016). ...
Article
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Forest and land fire in 2015 was a catastrophe in Indonesia, as it did not only cause damage on forest ecosystem and environments, but also impacted human health and economic loss. This research aimed to identify hotspots distribution in 2014-2015 as an indicator of forest and land fire, and to analyze fire susceptibility in Musi Banyuasin district, South Sumatra. Data used for fire prone analysis consisted of land cover map, forest status, hotspots data derived from NOAA18, soil types, topography and moratorium map. Results showed that based on land function, hotspots were mostly found in production forest with hotspots density of 0.049 hotspots km-2. Based on land cover type, hotspots were mostly found in the open land (88 hotspots). Based on soil types, hotspots were mostly occurred on peat soils (180 hotspots and hotspot density 0.048 hotspot km-2). Soil type was mostly associated with hotspot occurrence. Sub-district of Bayung Lencir has the highest fire susceptibility among others. Low precipitation and El-Ninö phenomenon in 2015 were not the only drivers of peat fire. However two main current problems in the Forest Management Unit of Lalan Mangsang Mendis (e.g. illegal logging and open access) were driver factors of peat fire in the district. Key words: Fire prevention, fire risk map, forest management unit (FMU), peatland, spatial analysis ABSTRAK Kebakaran lahan dan hutan tahun 2015 telah menjadi bencana karena tidak hanya menyebabkan kerusakan pada kerusakan ekosistem hutan dan lingkungan, tetapi juga kerugian ekonomi dan kesehatan manusia. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengidentifikasi sebaran titik panas tahun 2014-2015 sebagai indikator kebakaran dan menganalisis tingkat kerawanan kebakaran gambut di Kabupaten Musi Banyuasin, Sumatera Selatan. Data yang digunakan sebagai faktor penyusunan tingkat kerawanan adalah data spasial tutupan lahan, status kawasan, data titik panas hasil olahan dari citra NOAA18, peta tipe tanah, peta rupa bumi Indonesia dan peta moratorium gambut. Hasil analisis tahun 2015 menunjukkan bahwa berdasarkan fungsi kawasan, jumlah hotspot terbanyak dijumpai di hutan produksi (HP), yaitu 196 hotspot dengan kepadatan hotspot sebesar 0.049 hotspot km2. Berdasarkan tipe tutupan lahan, jumlah hotspot terbesar dijumpai pada lahan terbuka sebanyak 83 hotspot. Berdasarkan tipe tanah, hotspot yang dijumpai pada lahan gambut sebanyak 180 titik, dengan kepadatan 0.048 hotspot km2. Dengan menggunakan empat faktor penyebab yang paling berpengaruh terhadap kebakaran hutan dan lahan, maka faktor lahan gambut merupakan faktor yang paling berpengaruh terhadap kebakaran. Tingkat kerawanan kebakaran paling tinggi terjadi di Kecamatan Bayung Lencir. Fenomena El-Nino tahun 2015 bukan penyebab utama kejadian kebakaran gambut, tetapi masih maraknya illegal logging dan ‘open access’ area yang menjadi masalah utama pada Kesatuan Pengelolaan Hutan Lalan Mangsang Mendis menjadi faktor pemicu terjadinya kebakaran gambut di kabupaten ini.
... The rest of the world accounts for 14% of the world's supply and oil palm may be grown increasingly in other countries as suitable land becomes scarce and climate is unconducive to growth, in Malaysia and Indonesia. For example, there are only 3·0 × 10 5 ha remaining in Malaysia (Villela et al. 2014) and growing oil palm in Malaysia and Indonesia may become difficult as climate change progresses (Marlier et al. 2014). In addition, other nations will produce palm oil to boost their economies, forming potential competitors to Malaysia and Indonesia. ...
Article
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Palms are highly significant tropical plants. Oil palms produce palm oil, the basic commodity of a highly important industry. Climate change from greenhouse gasses is likely to decrease the ability of palms to survive, irrespective of them providing ecosystem services to communities. Little information about species survival in tropical regions under climate change is available and data on species migration under climate change is important. Palms are particularly significant in Africa: a palm oil industry already exists with Nigeria being the largest producer. Previous work using CLIMEX modelling indicated that Africa will have reduced suitable climate for oil palm in Africa. The current paper employs this modelling to assess how suitable climate for growing oil palm changed in Africa from current time to 2100. An increasing trend in suitable climate from west to east was observed indicating that refuges could be obtained along the African tropical belt. Most countries had reduced suitable climates but others had increased, with Uganda being particularly high. There may be a case for developing future oil palm plantations towards the east of Africa. The information may be usefully applied to other palms. However, it is crucial that any developments will fully adhere to environmental regulations. Future climate change will have severe consequences to oil palm cultivation but there may be scope for eastwards mitigation in Africa.
... SE Asia fires harm human health by increasing particulate matter and ozone in major population centers 39 . Marlier et al. 40 predict that 37-48% of future Sumatra emissions from land use change will come from peatlands, despite peatlands only accounting for 16% of the total land. This is due to the abundance of soil carbon that becomes vulnerable to fires after drainage. ...
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Southeast Asian peatlands are climatically important ecosystems, storing approximately 70 billion tons of carbon. Natural and human-induced droughts are lowering peatland water tables, increasing decomposition and the risk of peat-burning wildfires. The rapid nature of carbon losses arising from peatland drainage and accompanying fire-related losses compared to the slow accumulation of peat means that the effects of peatland drainage are essentially irreversible on human timescales. Here, we use a terrestrial biosphere model incorporating vertically-resolved peatland carbon and water dynamics to predict decomposition and fire in Southeast Asia as a result drainage-induced drying. The model captures observed patterns of interannual and seasonal variation in soil moisture and its soil moisture estimates are a better predictor of observed burned area fraction than either precipitation or remotely-sensed estimates of surface soil moisture (r ² =0.63, 0.50, 0.56 respectively). Simulations of a fully-drained 1.4 m peat deposit emit an additional 9 tC ha ⁻¹ yr ⁻¹ and 13 tC ha ⁻¹ yr ⁻¹ from decomposition and fire respectively. The emissions from decomposition are linearly related to the depth of drainage and can reach up to 31 tC ha ⁻¹ yr ⁻¹ when fully drained. At regional scales, these estimates imply that 220 MtC yr ⁻¹ , or 2.2% of global fossil fuel emissions, are being emitted from Indonesian and Malaysian peatlands due to drainage. The vulnerability of these large, concentrated carbon stocks, combined with their long timescale of accumulation, underscore the importance for preserving tropical peatlands to avoid further exacerbation of human induced climate change.
... Our treatment group includes forest areas within the moratorium boundaries that were established in 2011 (SI Appendix, Fig. S2). Since 2011, the moratorium's boundaries have shifted due to forestland being redesignated by Indonesia's district governments and dropped out of the moratorium before typically being licensed out to concessionaires (22,66,67) (SI Appendix, section 1). Although legal, this redesignation of forestland is effectively a behavioral response to the moratorium and, hence, should be included in estimates of impact. ...
Article
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Significance More than a decade after the global adoption of REDD+ as a climate change mitigation strategy, countries have started accessing results-based payments. However, the extent to which payments are actually based on results is unknown, necessitating program evaluations to establish the contribution of REDD+ to the Paris NDCs. We undertake a microeconometric evaluation of one of the most globally significant REDD+ initiatives, Indonesia’s moratorium on forest concessions, in which a payment has been awarded. At the agreed US$5/tCO 2 -eq, the value of our estimated cumulative carbon emissions far exceeds the proposed payment from the donor, Norway. Although cost-effective, the emissions reductions only contribute 3 to 4% of Indonesia’s NDC. This contribution could be increased in new initiatives with better-designed incentives and institutional arrangements.
... Peat fire is one of the environmental disasters occurring widespread during the dry season in South Sumatra. Peat fires usually occur during the dry season from June to November (Marlier et al., 2015a;Marlier et al., 2015b) and result in a haze disaster that affects wildlife, human health, economy, and climate. Koplitz et al (2016) have mentioned that 100-300 people died in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore caused by poor air quality, which is likely associated with the dispersal of haze during September-October 2015. ...
Article
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Peat fire is one of the environmental disasters occurring widespread during the dry season in South Sumatra. The region has long been recognized to have extensive peatland, hence it is considered as the vulnerable areas to fire. This study employs spatial analysis to evaluate the likely linked factors causing peat fire in the study area. Two interannual climate modes such as the El Niño – Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole were considered to have affected the area with respect to climate anomaly at the 1995-2016 periods. This phenomenon was followed by the peat fire in many areas. There appears a close linkage between the occurrence of peat fires and climate anomaly. A number of hotspots tend to occur annually during the drought season. A significant number of hotspots took place during the 2006 pIOD and 2015 El Niño events due to a significant decrease in rainfall intensities.
... In this study, we present a novel approach that integrates information on the drivers of fire emissions in Indonesia (Marlier, DeFries, Kim, Gaveau, et al., 2015;Marlier, DeFries, Pennington, Nelson, et al., 2015), the transport of smoke to downwind regional population centers , and the resulting population exposure to air pollution (Koplitz et al., 2016) in order to quantify the health impacts of different land management scenarios. We apply this framework to prioritize locations for peatland restoration sites to reduce population exposure to fire emissions in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore and to develop an online decision support tool to evaluate the efficacy of other potential policy scenarios. ...
Article
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Abstract Emissions of particulate matter from fires associated with land management practices in Indonesia contribute to regional air pollution and mortality. We assess the public health benefits in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore from policies to reduce fires by integrating information on fire emissions, atmospheric transport patterns, and population exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5). We use adjoint sensitivities to relate fire emissions to PM2.5 for a range of meteorological conditions and find that a Business‐As‐Usual scenario of land use change leads, on average, to 36,000 excess deaths per year into the foreseeable future (the next several decades) across the region. These deaths are largely preventable with fire reduction strategies, such as blocking fires in peatlands, industrial concessions, or protected areas, which reduce the health burden by 66, 45, and 14%, respectively. The effectiveness of these different strategies in mitigating human health impacts depends on the location of fires relative to the population distribution. For example, protecting peatlands through eliminating all fires on such lands would prevent on average 24,000 excess deaths per year into the foreseeable future across the region because, in addition to storing large amounts of fuel, many peatlands are located directly upwind of densely populated areas. We also demonstrate how this framework can be used to prioritize restoration locations for the Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency based on their ability to reduce pollution exposure and health burden. This scientific framework is publicly available through an online decision support tool that allows stakeholders to readily determine the public health benefits of different land management strategies.
... Indonesia is a tropical country with the world's highest CO 2 emissions from the processes of land change [5]. Agricultural expansion and forest exploitation have played an essential role in intensive land use management throughout Indonesia over the past few decades [6,7]. Understanding land-change causes and actors is one of the prime goals of global change research [3,8,9]. ...
Article
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Indonesia has experienced one of the world’s greatest dynamic land changes due to forestry and agricultural practices. Understanding the drivers behind these land changes remains challenging, partly because landscape research is spread across many domains and disciplines. We provide a systematic review of 91 studies that identify the causes and land change actors across Sumatra and Kalimantan. Our review shows that oil palm expansion is the most prominent (65 studies) among multiple direct causes of land change. We determined that property rights are the most prominent issue (31 studies) among the multiple underlying causes of land change. Distinct combinations of mainly economic, institutional, political, and social underlying drivers determine land change, rather than single key drivers. Our review also shows that central and district governments as decision-making actors are prominent (69 studies) among multiple land change actors. Our systematic review indicates knowledge gaps that can be filled by clarifying the identification and role of actors in land change.
... Over the past decade, OP crops have also been grown increasingly outside SE Asia (20), as suitable land in Asia is becoming scarce and the changing climate is less conducive to cultivation. For example, there is only an estimated 300,000 ha of available land for palm expansion remaining in Malaysia (34), with increasing government prohibitions for environmental reasons on further encroachment onto either forest and peatland in Indonesia (19,20,(35)(36)(37)(38). Continuing increases in global demand over the past five decades have meant that the cultivation of OP has been widely regarded by many tropical countries as a method to boost their economies (20,(39)(40)(41). ...
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Oil palm in the 2020s and beyond: challenges and solutions
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Most recent estimates of carbon emissions from Indonesia's peatland fires are based on extrapolation from a narrow base of empirical evidence, raising concerns about the reliability of fire emissions estimates. Measurements of peat fires during ENSO periods are not representative of fires in other years, yet they underlie many estimates of peat fire emissions in ‘normal’ years. Errors may enter into estimates of area burned, quantity of peat combusted and fire emission factors. Problems arise in extrapolating from a few empirical measurements without accounting for conditions that influence combustibility of peat and the heavy fuels through which surface fires transition to become peat fires. These conditions are influenced by drainage and fire history. Our analysis is based on a critical look at a sample of peat fire and emissions studies, including the two most widely cited ones, as well as at the uses made of those studies. Undue extrapolation from unrepresentative empirical studies contributes significantly to the uncertainty of emissions estimates in studies that rely on models rather than empirical observation. We do not offer our own estimates; rather, we argue that the base of evidence must be broadened. We point to examples of empirically based research that more reliably show the contribution of peat fires to overall peatland carbon emissions.
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Thesis
Over the last decades, Indonesia has experienced dramatic land transformations with an expansion of oil palm plantations at the expense of tropical forests. Indonesia is currently one of the regions with the highest transformation rate of the land surface worldwide related to the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops replacing forests on large scales. As vegetation is a modifier of the climate near the ground these large-scale land transformations have major impacts on surface biophysical variables such as land surface temperature (LST), albedo, vegetation indices (e.g. the normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI), on the surface energy balance and energy partitioning.Despite the large historic land transformation in Indonesia toward oil palm and other cash crops and governmental plans for future expansion, this is the first study so far to quantify the impacts of land transformation on biophysical variables in Indonesia. To assess such changes at regional scale remote sensing data are needed.As a key driver for many ecological functions, LST is directly affected by land cover changes.We analyze LST from the thermal band of a Landsat image and produce a high-resolution surface temperature map (30 m) for the lowlands of the Jambi province in Sumatra (Indonesia), a region which experienced large land transformation towards oil palm and other cash crops over the past decades. The comparison of LST, albedo, NDVI, and evapotranspiration (ET) between seven different land cover types (forest, urban areas, clear cut land, young and mature oil palm plantations, acacia and rubber plantations) shows that forests have lower surface temperatures than the other land cover types, indicating a local warming effect after forest conversion. LST differences were up to 10.1 ± 2.6 ºC (mean ± SD) between forest and clear-cut land. The differences in surface temperatures are explained by an evaporative cooling effect, which offsets an albedo warming effect.Young and mature oil palm plantations differenced in their biophysical. To study the development of surface biophysical variables during the 20 – 25 years rotation cycle of oil palm plantations, we used three Landsat images from the Jambi province in Sumatra/Indonesia covering a chronosequence of oil palm plantations.Our results show that differences between oil palm plantations in different stages of the oil palm rotation cycle are reflected in differences in the surface energy balance, energy partitioning and biophysical variables. During the oil palm plantation lifecycle the surface temperature differences to forest gradually decrease and approach zero around the mature oil palm plantation stage of 10 years. Concurrently, NDVI increases and the albedo decreases approaching typical values of forests. The surface energy balance and energy partitioning show a development patterns related to biophysical variables and the age of the oil palm plantations. Newly established and young plantations (< 5 years) have less net radiation available than mature oil palm plantations, yet have higher surface temperatures than mature oil palm plantations. The changes in biophysical variables, energy balance and energy partitioning during the oil palm rotation cycle can be explained by the previously identified evaporative cooling effect in which the albedo warming effect is offset. A main determinant in this mechanism is the vegetation cover during the different phases in the oil palm rotation cycle. NDVI as a proxy for vegetation cover showed a consistent inverse relation with the LST of different aged oil palm plantations, a trend that is also observed for different land use types in this study. (Last and final summary in the thesis)
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The Indonesian government committed to restoring over 2 million ha of degraded peatland by the end of 2020, mainly to reduce peat fires and greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is unlikely the government will meet this target, restoration projects are still underway. One restoration strategy involves blocking peatland drainage canals, but the consequences of this for smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are dependent on agriculture are unclear. This paper investigates perceived impacts of canal blocks on smallholder farmers and identifies factors that affect their willingness to accept canal blocks on their land. We use data from 181 household questionnaires collected in 2018 across three villages in Jambi province, Sumatra. We found that the majority of respondents would accept canal blocks on their farms, perceiving that the blocks would have no impact on yields or farm access, and would decrease fire risk. Respondents who would not accept blocks on their farms were more likely to use canals to access their farms and perceive that canal blocks would decrease yields. The majority of farmers unwilling to accept canal blocks did not change their mind when provided with an option of a block that would allow boat travel. Our results improve understanding of why some smallholders may be unwilling to engage with peatland restoration. Further research is needed to understand the impact of canal blocks on smallholders' yields. Engaging with stakeholders from the outset to understand farmers' concerns, and perceptions is key if the government is to succeed in meeting its peatland restoration target and to ensure that the costs and benefits of restoration are evenly shared between local stakeholders and other actors. Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10113-020-01737-z.
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Indonesia is currently one of the regions with the highest transformation rate of the land surface worldwide due to the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops replacing forests on large scales. Land cover changes, which modify land surface properties, have a direct effect on the land surface temperature (LST), a key driver for many ecological functions. Despite the large historic land transformation in Indonesia toward oil palm and other cash crops and governmental plans for future expansion, this is the first study so far to quantify the impact of land transformation in Indonesia on LST. We analyse LST from the thermal band of a Landsat image and produce a high resolution surface temperature map (30 m) for the lowlands of the Jambi province on Sumatra (Indonesia), a region of large land transformation towards oil palm and other cash crops over the past decades. We compare LST, albedo, Normalized Differenced Vegetation Index (NDVI), and evapotranspiration (ET) of seven different land cover types (forest, urban areas, clear cut land, young and mature oil palm plantations, acacia and rubber plantations) and show that forests have lower surface temperatures than these land cover types indicating a local warming effect after forest conversion with LST differences up to 10.09 ± 2.6 ºC (mean ± SD) between forest and clear cut land. The differences in surface temperatures are explained by an evaporative cooling effect offsetting an albedo warming effect. Our analysis of the LST trend of the past 16 years based on MODIS data shows that the average daytime surface temperature of the Jambi province increased by 1.05 ºC, which followed the trend of observed land cover changes and exceed the effects of climate warming. Our study provides evidence that the expansion of oil palm plantations and other cash crops leads to changes in biophysical variables, warming the land surface and thus enhancing the increase in air temperature due to climate change.
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The occurance of forest fire indonesia especially in Kalimantan is a potential threat to sustainable development. The purpose of this research is a early warning system in forest fire in Kalimantan, by estimating the hotspot as indicators based on visibility and climate data. This research using F test, T test, Multiple Linear Regression analysis, Principle Component Analysis (PCA) and Principle Component Regression Analysis (PCR) Vvisibility, hotspot and temperature data have releated, meaning the very big effect with forest fire incident. Test result of T test and ANOVA P-Value less than 0.05, there is influence between independent variables in this visibility and climate factor against dependent variables in this is the number of hotspots. Relation of climate variables to 10 days forest fire in Central Kalimantan R 2 adjusted is 0.4699 with F calculate larger from F table is 160.0940. Relation of climate variables to dasarian forest fire in central kalimantan as early warning system has R 2 adjusted that is 0.4176 with f calculate larger from table F of 129.3551. Conclusion forest fires following monsoon character and being affected by el nino events, visibility has a closer and can be used as a indicator of forest fire and land intensity, hotspot in a relationship has a close connection with visibility and climate condition at the same decade period, used equations for early warning system for predicted fire genesis indicates with hotspot amount, compiled from climate condition 10 days. How to cite (CSE Style 8 th Edition): Aflahah E, Hidayati R, Hidayat R, Alfahmi F. 2019 Pendugaan hotspot sebagai indikator kebakaran hutan di Kalimantan berdasarkan faktor iklim. JPSL 9(2): 405-418. http://dx.
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Combining protected areas with natural forest timber concessions may sustain larger forest landscapes than is possible via protected areas alone. However, the role of timber concessions in maintaining natural forest remains poorly characterized. An estimated 57% (303,525 km2) of Kalimantan's land area (532,100 km2) was covered by natural forest in 2000. About 14,212 km2 (4.7%) had been cleared by 2010. Forests in oil palm concessions had been reduced by 5,600 km2 (14.1%), while the figures for timber concessions are 1,336 km2 (1.5%), and for protected forests are 1,122 km2 (1.2%). These deforestation rates explain little about the relative performance of the different land use categories under equivalent conversion risks due to the confounding effects of location. An estimated 25% of lands allocated for timber harvesting in 2000 had their status changed to industrial plantation concessions in 2010. Based on a sample of 3,391 forest plots (1×1 km; 100 ha), and matching statistical analyses, 2000–2010 deforestation was on average 17.6 ha lower (95% C.I.: −22.3 ha–−12.9 ha) in timber concession plots than in oil palm concession plots. When location effects were accounted for, deforestation rates in timber concessions and protected areas were not significantly different (Mean difference: 0.35 ha; 95% C.I.: −0.002 ha–0.7 ha). Natural forest timber concessions in Kalimantan had similar ability as protected areas to maintain forest cover during 2000–2010, provided the former were not reclassified to industrial plantation concessions. Our study indicates the desirability of the Government of Indonesia designating its natural forest timber concessions as protected areas under the IUCN Protected Area Category VI to protect them from reclassification.
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Combining protected areas with natural forest timber concessions may sustain larger forest landscapes than is possible via protected areas alone. However, the role of timber concessions in maintaining natural forest remains poorly characterized. An estimated 57% (303,525 km2) of Kalimantan's land area (532,100 km2) was covered by natural forest in 2000. About 14,212 km2 (4.7%) had been cleared by 2010. Forests in oil palm concessions had been reduced by 5,600 km2 (14.1%), while the figures for timber concessions are 1,336 km2 (1.5%), and for protected forests are 1,122 km2 (1.2%). These deforestation rates explain little about the relative performance of the different land use categories under equivalent conversion risks due to the confounding effects of location. An estimated 25% of lands allocated for timber harvesting in 2000 had their status changed to industrial plantation concessions in 2010. Based on a sample of 3,391 forest plots (1×1 km; 100 ha), and matching statistical analyses, 2000–2010 deforestation was on average 17.6 ha lower (95% C.I.: −22.3 ha–−12.9 ha) in timber concession plots than in oil palm concession plots. When location effects were accounted for, deforestation rates in timber concessions and protected areas were not significantly different (Mean difference: 0.35 ha; 95% C.I.: −0.002 ha–0.7 ha). Natural forest timber concessions in Kalimantan had similar ability as protected areas to maintain forest cover during 2000–2010, provided the former were not reclassified to industrial plantation concessions. Our study indicates the desirability of the Government of Indonesia designating its natural forest timber concessions as protected areas under the IUCN Protected Area Category VI to protect them from reclassification.
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In several biomes, including croplands, wooded savannas, and tropical forests, many small fires occur each year that are well below the detection limit of the current generation of global burned area products derived from moderate resolution surface reflectance imagery. Although these fires often generate thermal anomalies that can be detected by satellites, their contributions to burned area and carbon fluxes have not been systematically quantified across different regions and continents. Here we developed a preliminary method for combining 1-km thermal anomalies (active fires) and 500 m burned area observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to estimate the influence of these fires. In our approach, we calculated the number of active fires inside and outside of 500 m burn scars derived from reflectance data. We estimated small fire burned area by computing the difference normalized burn ratio (dNBR) for these two sets of active fires and then combining these observations with other information. In a final step, we used the Global Fire Emissions Database version 3 (GFED3) biogeochemical model to estimate the impact of these fires on biomass burning emissions. We found that the spatial distribution of active fires and 500 m burned areas were in close agreement in ecosystems that experience large fires, including savannas across southern Africa and Australia and boreal forests in North America and Eurasia. In other areas, however, we observed many active fires outside of burned area perimeters. Fire radiative power was lower for this class of active fires. Small fires substantially increased burned area in several continental-scale regions, including Equatorial Asia (157%), Central America (143%), and Southeast Asia (90%) during 2001-2010. Globally, accounting for small fires increased total burned area by approximately by 35%, from 345 Mha/yr to 464 Mha/yr. A formal quantification of uncertainties was not possible, but sensitivity analyses of key model parameters caused estimates of global burned area increases from small fires to vary between 24% and 54%. Biomass burning carbon emissions increased by 35% at a global scale when small fires were included in GFED3, from 1.9 Pg C/yr to 2.5 Pg C/yr. The contribution of tropical forest fires to year-to-year variability in carbon fluxes increased because small fires amplified emissions from Central America, South America and Southeast Asia-regions where drought stress and burned area varied considerably from year to year in response to El Nino-Southern Oscillation and other climate modes.
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Emissions from landscape fires affect both climate and air quality. Here, we combine satellite-derived fire estimates and atmospheric modelling to quantify health effects from fire emissions in southeast Asia from 1997 to 2006. This region has large interannual variability in fire activity owing to coupling between El Niño-induced droughts and anthropogenic land-use change. We show that during strong El Niño years, fires contribute up to 200μgm-3 and 50ppb in annual average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone surface concentrations near fire sources, respectively. This corresponds to a fire contribution of 200 additional days per year that exceed the World Health Organization 50μgm-3 24-hr PM2.5 interim target and an estimated 10,800 (6,800-14,300)-person (~ 2%) annual increase in regional adult cardiovascular mortality. Our results indicate that reducing regional deforestation and degradation fires would improve public health along with widely established benefits from reducing carbon emissions, preserving biodiversity and maintaining ecosystem services.
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Oil palm supplies >30% of world vegetable oil production1. Plantation expansion is occurring throughout the tropics, predominantly in Indonesia, where forests with heterogeneous carbon stocks undergo high conversion rates2, 3, 4. Quantifying oil palm’s contribution to global carbon budgets therefore requires refined spatio-temporal assessments of land cover converted to plantations5, 6. Here, we report oil palm development across Kalimantan (538,346 km2) from 1990 to 2010, and project expansion to 2020 within government-allocated leases. Using Landsat satellite analyses to discern multiple land covers, coupled with above- and below-ground carbon accounting, we develop the first high-resolution carbon flux estimates from Kalimantan plantations. From 1990 to 2010, 90% of lands converted to oil palm were forested (47% intact, 22% logged, 21% agroforests). By 2010, 87% of total oil palm area (31,640 km2) occurred on mineral soils, and these plantations contributed 61–73% of 1990–2010 net oil palm emissions (0.020–0.024 GtC yr−1). Although oil palm expanded 278% from 2000 to 2010, 79% of allocated leases remained undeveloped. By 2020, full lease development would convert 93,844 km2 (~ 90% forested lands, including 41% intact forests). Oil palm would then occupy 34% of lowlands outside protected areas. Plantation expansion in Kalimantan alone is projected to contribute 18–22% (0.12–0.15 GtC yr−1) of Indonesia’s 2020 CO2-equivalent emissions. Allocated oil palm leases represent a critical yet undocumented source of deforestation and carbon emissions.
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As reported by FAO (2005 State of the World’s Forests (Rome: UNFAO), 2010 Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) 2010/095 (Rome: UNFAO)), Indonesia experiences the second highest rate of deforestation among tropical countries. Hence, timely and accurate forest data are required to combat deforestation and forest degradation in support of climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation policy initiatives. Within Indonesia, Sumatra Island stands out due to the intensive forest clearing that has resulted in the conversion of 70% of the island’s forested area through 2010. We present here a hybrid approach for quantifying the extent and change of primary forest in Sumatra in terms of primary intact and primary degraded classes using a per-pixel supervised classification mapping followed by a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based fragmentation analysis. Loss of Sumatra’s primary intact and primary degraded forests was estimated to provide suitable information for the objectives of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD and REDD+) program. Results quantified 7.54 Mha of primary forest loss in Sumatra during the last two decades (1990–2010). An additional 2.31 Mha of primary forest was degraded. Of the 7.54 Mha cleared, 7.25 Mha was in a degraded state when cleared, and 0.28 Mha was in a primary state. The rate of primary forest cover change for both forest cover loss and forest degradation slowed over the study period, from 7.34 Mha from 1990 to 2000, to 2.51 Mha from 2000 to 2010. The Geoscience Laser Altimeter System (GLAS) data set was employed to evaluate results. GLAS-derived tree canopy height indicated a significant structural difference between primary intact and primary degraded forests (mean height 28 m ± 8.7 m and 19 m ± 8.2 m, respectively). The results demonstrate a method for quantifying primary forest cover stand-replacement disturbance and degradation that can be replicated across the tropics in support of REDD+ initiatives.
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Payments for reduced carbon emissions from deforestation (RED) are now attracting attention as a way to halt tropical deforestation. Northern Sumatra comprises an area of 65 000 km² that is both the site of Indonesia's first planned RED initiative, and the stronghold of 92% of remaining Sumatran orangutans. Under current plans, this RED initiative will be implemented in a defined geographic area, essentially a newly established, 7500 km² protected area (PA) comprising mostly upland forest, where guards will be recruited to enforce forest protection. Meanwhile, new roads are currently under construction, while companies are converting lowland forests into oil palm plantations. This case study predicts the effectiveness of RED in reducing deforestation and conserving orangutans for two distinct scenarios: the current plan of implementing RED within the specific boundary of a new upland PA, and an alternative scenario of implementing RED across landscapes outside PAs. Our satellite-based spatially explicit deforestation model predicts that 1313 km² of forest would be saved from deforestation by 2030, while forest cover present in 2006 would shrink by 22% (7913 km²) across landscapes outside PAs if RED were only to be implemented in the upland PA. Meanwhile, orangutan habitat would reduce by 16% (1137 km²), resulting in the conservative loss of 1384 orangutans, or 25% of the current total population with or without RED intervention. By contrast, an estimated 7824 km² of forest could be saved from deforestation, with maximum benefit for orangutan conservation, if RED were to be implemented across all remaining forest landscapes outside PAs. Here, RED payments would compensate land users for their opportunity costs in not converting unprotected forests into oil palm, while the construction of new roads to service the marketing of oil palm would be halted. Our predictions suggest that Indonesia's first RED initiative in an upland PA may not significantly reduce deforestation in northern Sumatra and would have little impact on orangutan conservation because a large amount of forest inside the project area is protected de facto by being inaccessible, while lowland forests will remain exposed to the combined expansion of high-revenue plantations and road networks. In contrast, RED would be more effective in terms of its conservation impact if payments were extended to all remaining carbon-rich tropical forests, including lowland peat swamp forests, the preferred habitat for dense populations of orangutans, and if the construction of new roads was halted.
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The Indonesian islands of Sumatera and Kalimantan (the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo) are a center of significant and rapid forest cover loss in the humid tropics with implications for carbon dynamics, biodiversity conservation, and local livelihoods. The aim of our research was to analyze and interpret annual trends of forest cover loss for different sub-regions of the study area. We mapped forest cover loss for 2000–2008 using multi-resolution remote sensing data from the Landsat enhanced thematic mapper plus (ETM+) and moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensors and analyzed annual trends per island, province, and official land allocation zone. The total forest cover loss for Sumatera and Kalimantan 2000–2008 was 5.39 Mha, which represents 5.3% of the land area and 9.2% of the year 2000 forest cover of these two islands. At least 6.5% of all mapped forest cover loss occurred in land allocation zones prohibiting clearing. An additional 13.6% of forest cover loss occurred where clearing is legally restricted. The overall trend of forest cover loss increased until 2006 and decreased thereafter. The trends for Sumatera and Kalimantan were distinctly different, driven primarily by the trends of Riau and Central Kalimantan provinces, respectively. This analysis shows that annual mapping of forest cover change yields a clearer picture than a one-time overall national estimate. Monitoring forest dynamics is important for national policy makers, especially given the commitment of Indonesia to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of the reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries initiative (REDD+). The improved spatio-temporal detail of forest change monitoring products will make it possible to target policies and projects in meeting this commitment. Accurate, annual forest cover loss maps will be integral to many REDD+ objectives, including policy formulation, definition of baselines, detection of displacement, and the evaluation of the permanence of emission reduction.
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This study in the wake of 1990s fire catastrophes identifies and analyzes underlying causes of vegetation fires in eight locations across Borneo and Sumatra. Multidisciplinary and multiscale analysis integrates geospatial technologies with varied social research approaches and participatory mapping. It helps fill a void of site-specific evidence on diverse underlying causes of the Indonesian fires, despite emerging consensus on macrolevel causes and impacts, and policy debates on preventing future fire disasters. Our most important findings include confirmation of multiple direct and underlying fire causes at each of the eight locations, no single dominant fire cause at any site, and wide differences in fire causes among sites. Conclusions emphasize the importance of location specific studies within a regional analytical context. Our “hybrid” research methods demonstrate the explanatory power of integrating geospatial and social analysis techniques, and the benefits of analyzing fire causes and impacts at multiple scales in varied locations across diverse regions.
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In the second half of 1997, large areas in Southeast Asia were severely affected by a smoke-haze pollution episode caused by the emissions of an estimated 45,600km2 of vegetation that burnt on the Indonesian islands Kalimantan and Sumatra. To document the impacts of these fires on air quality, data for total suspended particulate matter (TSP) and for particulate matter below or equal to 10microns in diameter (PM10) from selected sites in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are analysed in this paper. These data are supplemented by meteorological data, satellite images and a summary of related research. TSP was above 2,000µgm–3 for several days in Indonesian locations close to the most extensive fire activity. In Malaysia and Singapore, ambient particle concentrations increased to several times their average September levels. Characteristically for emissions from vegetation burning, the additional atmospheric particle loading during the smoke-haze episode was predominantly due to an increase of the fraction below or equal to 2.5microns in diameter (PM2.5). Due to the dominance of respirable particles (PM2.5) in the smoke-haze, air quality reporting based on TSP or PM10 may be inadequate to assess the health risk. Upgrading of PM2.5 monitoring facilities is therefore needed. Reducing the probability of similar smoke-haze events in future would require appropriate fire use and smoke management strategies.
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Industrial agricultural plantations are a rapidly increasing yet largely unmeasured source of tropical land cover change. Here, we evaluate impacts of oil palm plantation development on land cover, carbon flux, and agrarian community lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. With a spatially explicit land change/carbon bookkeeping model, parameterized using high-resolution satellite time series and informed by socioeconomic surveys, we assess previous and project future plantation expansion under five scenarios. Although fire was the primary proximate cause of 1989-2008 deforestation (93%) and net carbon emissions (69%), by 2007-2008, oil palm directly caused 27% of total and 40% of peatland deforestation. Plantation land sources exhibited distinctive temporal dynamics, comprising 81% forests on mineral soils (1994-2001), shifting to 69% peatlands (2008-2011). Plantation leases reveal vast development potential. In 2008, leases spanned ∼65% of the region, including 62% on peatlands and 59% of community-managed lands, yet <10% of lease area was planted. Projecting business as usual (BAU), by 2020 ∼40% of regional and 35% of community lands are cleared for oil palm, generating 26% of net carbon emissions. Intact forest cover declines to 4%, and the proportion of emissions sourced from peatlands increases 38%. Prohibiting intact and logged forest and peatland conversion to oil palm reduces emissions only 4% below BAU, because of continued uncontrolled fire. Protecting logged forests achieves greater carbon emissions reductions (21%) than protecting intact forests alone (9%) and is critical for mitigating carbon emissions. Extensive allocated leases constrain land management options, requiring trade-offs among oil palm production, carbon emissions mitigation, and maintaining community landholdings.
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We estimate and map the impacts that alternative national and subnational economic incentive structures for reducing emissions from deforestation (REDD+) in Indonesia would have had on greenhouse gas emissions and national and local revenue if they had been in place from 2000 to 2005. The impact of carbon payments on deforestation is calibrated econometrically from the pattern of observed deforestation and spatial variation in the benefits and costs of converting land to agriculture over that time period. We estimate that at an international carbon price of $10/tCO(2)e, a "mandatory incentive structure," such as a cap-and-trade or symmetric tax-and-subsidy program, would have reduced emissions by 163-247 MtCO(2)e/y (20-31% below the without-REDD+ reference scenario), while generating a programmatic budget surplus. In contrast, a "basic voluntary incentive structure" modeled after a standard payment-for-environmental-services program would have reduced emissions nationally by only 45-76 MtCO(2)e/y (6-9%), while generating a programmatic budget shortfall. By making four policy improvements--paying for net emission reductions at the scale of an entire district rather than site-by-site; paying for reductions relative to reference levels that match business-as-usual levels; sharing a portion of district-level revenues with the national government; and sharing a portion of the national government's responsibility for costs with districts--an "improved voluntary incentive structure" would have been nearly as effective as a mandatory incentive structure, reducing emissions by 136-207 MtCO(2)e/y (17-26%) and generating a programmatic budget surplus.
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Rising global demands for food and biofuels are driving forest clearance in the tropics. Oil-palm expansion contributes to biodiversity declines and carbon emissions in Southeast Asia. However, the magnitudes of these impacts remain largely unquantified until now. We produce a 250-m spatial resolution map of closed canopy oil-palm plantations in the lowlands of Peninsular Malaysia (2 million ha), Borneo (2.4 million ha), and Sumatra (3.9 million ha). We demonstrate that 6% (or ≈880,000 ha) of tropical peatlands in the region had been converted to oil-palm plantations by the early 2000s. Conversion of peatswamp forests to oil palm led to biodiversity declines of 1% in Borneo (equivalent to four species of forest-dwelling birds), 3.4% in Sumatra (16 species), and 12.1% in Peninsular Malaysia (46 species). This land-use change also contributed to the loss of ≈140 million Mg of aboveground biomass carbon, and annual emissions of ≈4.6 million Mg of belowground carbon from peat oxidation. Additionally, the loss of peatswamp forests implies the loss of carbon sequestration service through peat accumulation, which amounts to ≈660,000 Mg of carbon annually. By 2010, 2.3 million ha of peatswamp forests were clear-felled, and currently occur as degraded lands. Reforestation of these clearings could enhance biodiversity by up to ≈20%, whereas oil-palm establishment would exacerbate species losses by up to ≈12%. To safeguard the region's biodiversity and carbon stocks, conservation and reforestation efforts should target Central Kalimantan, Riau, and West Kalimantan, which retain three-quarters (3.9 million ha) of the remaining peatswamp forests in Southeast Asia.
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During the 1997/98 El Niño-induced drought peatland fires in Indonesia may have released 13-40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels. One major unknown in current peatland emission estimations is how much peat is combusted by fire. Using a light detection and ranging data set acquired in Central Kalimantan, Borneo, in 2007, one year after the severe peatland fires of 2006, we determined an average burn scar depth of 0.33 +/- 0.18 m. Based on this result and the burned area determined from satellite imagery, we estimate that within the 2.79 million hectare study area 49.15 +/- 26.81 megatons of carbon were released during the 2006 El Niño episode. This represents 10-33% of all carbon emissions from transport for the European Community in the year 2006. These emissions, originating from a comparatively small area (approximately 13% of the Indonesian peatland area), underline the importance of peat fires in the context of green house gas emissions and global warming. In the past decade severe peat fires occurred during El Niño-induced droughts in 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2009. Currently, this important source of carbon emissions is not included in IPCC carbon accounting or in regional and global carbon emission models. Precise spatial measurements of peat combusted and potential avoided emissions in tropical peat swamp forests will also be required for future emission trading schemes in the framework of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries.
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Drainage of peatlands and deforestation have led to large-scale fires in equatorial Asia, affecting regional air quality and global concentrations of greenhouse gases. Here we used several sources of satellite data with biogeochemical and atmospheric modeling to better understand and constrain fire emissions from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea during 2000-2006. We found that average fire emissions from this region [128 +/- 51 (1sigma) Tg carbon (C) year(-1), T = 10(12)] were comparable to fossil fuel emissions. In Borneo, carbon emissions from fires were highly variable, fluxes during the moderate 2006 El Niño more than 30 times greater than those during the 2000 La Niña (and with a 2000-2006 mean of 74 +/- 33 Tg C yr(-1)). Higher rates of forest loss and larger areas of peatland becoming vulnerable to fire in drought years caused a strong nonlinear relation between drought and fire emissions in southern Borneo. Fire emissions from Sumatra showed a positive linear trend, increasing at a rate of 8 Tg C year(-2) (approximately doubling during 2000-2006). These results highlight the importance of including deforestation in future climate agreements. They also imply that land manager responses to expected shifts in tropical precipitation may critically determine the strength of climate-carbon cycle feedbacks during the 21st century.
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In 1997-98, fires associated with an exceptional drought caused by the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) devastated large areas of tropical rain forests worldwide. Evidence suggests that in tropical rainforest environments selective logging may lead to an increased susceptibility of forests to fire. We investigated whether this was true in the Indonesian fires, the largest fire disaster ever observed. We performed a multiscale analysis using coarse- and high-resolution optical and radar satellite imagery assisted by ground and aerial surveys to assess the extent of the fire-damaged area and the effect on vegetation in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. A total of 5.2 +/- 0.3 million hectares including 2.6 million hectares of forest was burned with varying degrees of damage. Forest fires primarily affected recently logged forests; primary forests or those logged long ago were less affected. These results support the hypothesis of positive feedback between logging and fire occurrence. The fires severely damaged the remaining forests and significantly increased the risk of recurrent fire disasters by leaving huge amounts of dead flammable wood.
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Drainage of peatlands and deforestation have led to large-scale fires in equatorial Asia, affecting regional air quality and global concentrations of greenhouse gases. Here we used several sources of satellite data with biogeochemical and atmospheric modeling to better understand and constrain fire emissions from Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea during 2000¿2006. We found that average fire emissions from this region [128 ± 51 (1¿) Tg carbon (C) year¿1, T = 1012] were comparable to fossil fuel emissions. In Borneo, carbon emissions from fires were highly variable, fluxes during the moderate 2006 El Niño more than 30 times greater than those during the 2000 La Niña (and with a 2000¿2006 mean of 74 ± 33 Tg C yr¿1). Higher rates of forest loss and larger areas of peatland becoming vulnerable to fire in drought years caused a strong nonlinear relation between drought and fire emissions in southern Borneo. Fire emissions from Sumatra showed a positive linear trend, increasing at a rate of 8 Tg C year¿2 (approximately doubling during 2000¿2006). These results highlight the importance of including deforestation in future climate agreements. They also imply that land manager responses to expected shifts in tropical precipitation may critically determine the strength of climate¿carbon cycle feedbacks during the 21st century.
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In this study, we used over 50 high-resolution satellite images to analyse sequences and interrelations in the progression of peatland degradation and conversion processes in Sumatra, Indonesia. Changes were monitored in three study areas of 2,500–3,500 km2 since the 1970s and examined in conjunction with satellite-based active fire data sets. Forests disturbed by intensive logging were noticed to be intermediate stages towards further degradation. Fires were practically non-existent in nearly pristine peat swamp forests (7 fires/100 km2, 1996–2010), but were highly concentrated in heavily degraded forest areas (140 fires/100 km2) leading to either an extremely degraded landscape or conversion to agriculture. The results highlight the vulnerability of degraded peat swamp forest ecosystems and indicate that most of the remaining forested peatlands in Sumatra are in danger of either being fully converted to agriculture or turning into degraded unmanaged wastelands under current peatland management practices.
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Several studies suggest that protected areas conserve forests because deforestation rates are lower inside than outside protected area boundaries. Such benefits may be overestimated when deforestation rates within protected areas are contrasted with rates in lands where forest conversion is sanctioned. Here, we reexamine protected area performance by disentangling the effects of land use regulations surrounding the 110,000 km2 protected area network in Sumatra, Indonesia. We compared 1990–2000 deforestation rates across: (1) protected areas; (2) unprotected areas sanctioned for conversion; and (3) unprotected production areas where commercial logging is permitted but conversion is not. Deforestation rates were lower in protected areas than in conversion areas (Mean: −19.8%; 95% C.I.: −29.7—−10.0%; P < 0.001), but did not differ from production areas (Mean: −3.3%; 95% C.I.: −9.6—2.6%; P= 0.273). The measured protection impact of Sumatran protected areas differs with land use regulations governing unprotected lands used for comparisons. If these regulations are not considered, protected areas will appear increasingly effective as larger unprotected forested areas are sanctioned for conversion and deforested. In the 1990s, production areas were as effective as protected areas at reducing deforestation. We discuss implications of these findings for carbon conservation.
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This study aimed to deepen understanding on the limits imposed by burn-scar patterns and size distribution on regional burnt-area mapping with medium to coarse resolution (250-1000 m) satellite imagery in insular South-East Asia. Burnt-area maps based on 16 high-resolution SPOT 4 HRVIR and 5 HRG images were analysed in combination with land-cover and soil maps. Although the number of small burn scars (< 25 ha) was high throughout the region, the proportion of total burnt-area found in small scars varied remarkably (from 3 to 97%) between study sites. Unlike land cover, soil type was found to be a good indicator for usability of medium to coarse-resolution burnt-area mapping owing to the high occurrence of large burn scars on peatland and other wetland areas. A medium-resolution burnt-area mapping simulation (where 500 x 500-m grid cells containing >= 50% burnt area were considered detectable) resulted in 86% detected burnt area in wetlands (peat and alluvial soils) as opposed to only 33% in non-wetland areas. We thereby conclude that burn scar patterns and size distribution permit reliable regional burnt-area mapping with medium to coarse-resolution satellite imagery in the wetlands of insular South-East Asia, whereas alternative methods may need to be used in non-wetland areas.
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Estimates of wildfire aerosol and trace gas emissions are most commonly derived from assessments of biomass combusted. The radiative component of the energy liberated by burning fuel can be measured by remote sensing, and spaceborne fire radiative energy (FRE) measures can potentially provide detailed information on the amount and rate of biomass consumption over large areas. To implement the approach, spaceborne sensors must be able to derive fire radiative power (FRP) estimates from subpixel fires using observations in just one or two spectral channels, and calibration relationships between radiated energy and fuel consumption must be developed and validated. This paper presents results from a sensitivity analysis and from experimental fires conducted to investigate these issues. Within their methodological limits, the experimental work shows that FRP assessments made via independent hyperspectral and MIR radiance approaches in fact show good agreement, and fires are calculated to radiate 14 ± 3% [mean ± 1S.D.] of their theoretically available heat yield in a form capable of direct assessment by a nadir-viewing MIR imager. The relationship between FRE and fuel mass combusted is linear and highly significant (r2 = 0.98, n = 29, p < 0.0001), and FRP is well related to combustion rate (r2 = 0.90, n = 178, p < 0.0001), though radiation from the still-hot fuel bed can sometimes contribute significant FRP from areas where combustion has ceased. We conclude that FRE assessment offers a powerful tool for supplementing existing burned-area based fuel consumption measures, and thus shows significant promise for enhancing pyrogenic trace gas and aerosol emissions estimates.
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Several studies suggest that protected areas conserve forests because deforestation rates are lower inside than outside protected area boundaries. Such benefits may be overestimated when deforestation rates within protected areas are contrasted with rates in lands where forest conversion is sanctioned. Here, we reexamine protected area performance by disentangling the effects of land use regulations surrounding the 110,000 km 2 protected area network in Sumatra, Indonesia. We compared 1990–2000 deforestation rates across: (1) protected areas; (2) unprotected areas sanctioned for conversion; and (3) unprotected production areas where commercial logging is permitted but conversion is not. Deforestation rates were lower in protected areas than in conversion areas (Mean: −19.8%; 95% C.I.: −29.7—−10.0%; P < 0.001), but did not differ from production areas (Mean: −3.3%; 95% C.I.: −9.6—2.6%; P = 0.273). The measured protection impact of Sumatran protected areas differs with land use regulations governing unprotected lands used for comparisons. If these regulations are not considered, protected areas will appear increasingly effective as larger unprotected forested areas are sanctioned for conversion and deforested. In the 1990s, production areas were as effective as protected areas at reducing deforestation. We discuss implications of these findings for carbon conservation.
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Insular Southeast Asia experienced the highest level of deforestation among all humid tropical regions of the world during the 1990s. Owing to the exceptionally high biodiversity in Southeast Asian forest ecosystems and the immense amount of carbon stored in forested peatlands, deforestation in this region has the potential to cause serious global consequences. In this study, we analysed deforestation rates in insular Southeast Asia between 2000 and 2010 utilizing a pair of 250 m spatial resolution land cover maps produced with regional methodology and classification scheme. The results revealed an overall 1.0% yearly decline in forest cover in insular Southeast Asia (including the Indonesian part of New Guinea) with main change trajectories to plantations and secondary vegetation. Throughout the region, peat swamp forests experienced clearly the highest deforestation rates at an average annual rate of 2.2%, while lowland evergreen forests declined by 1.2%/yr. In addition, the analysis showed remarkable spatial variation in deforestation levels within the region and exposed two extreme concentration areas with over 5.0% annual forest loss: the eastern lowlands of Sumatra and the peatlands of Sarawak, Borneo. Both of these areas lost around half of their year 2000 peat swamp forest cover by 2010. As a whole this study has shown that deforestation has continued to take place on high level in insular Southeast Asia since the turn of the millennium. These on-going changes not only endanger the existence of numerous forest species endemic to this region, but they further increase the elevated carbon emissions from deforested peatlands of insular Southeast Asia thereby directly contributing to the rising carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere.
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1] Drought and sea surface temperature were examined as the causes of severe biomass burning C emissions in Indonesia for 1997–2006, obtained from the Global Fire Emissions Database. Eighteen predictor variables were considered under log linear and piecewise regression models. The predictor variables considered were precipitation totals of up to 6 months, output from two soil moisture models, and sea surface temperature (SST) indicators reflecting El Niño and Indian Ocean Dipole strength. Nonparametric bootstrap techniques were used to estimate confidence intervals for predictability and thresholds below which severe C emissions are likely. Across equatorial Southeast Asia, the best predictor was 3-month total precipitation, which explained 79% of variance in C emissions. When considered individually, and with the incorporation of satellite precipitation estimates, predictability for southern Sumatra and southern Kalimantan improved to 97% and 92%, respectively, using 4-month total precipitation. There is a high risk of severe burning when 4-month precipitation falls below thresholds of 350 mm in southern Sumatra and 650 mm in southern Kalimantan and when 6-month precipitation falls below 900 mm in Papua. In general, simple precipitation totals outperformed more complicated soil moisture models and SST-based indices. Physically, seasonal precipitation controls fire emissions through its regulation of groundwater level and, hence, the amount of peat available for drying. Seasonal precipitation, in turn, is strongly influenced by SST patterns in the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans. The most severe drought and fire events appear equally influenced by Indian Ocean Dipole events and El Niño events.
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Deforestation and forest degradation are proceeding rapidly in the lowland forests of Indonesian Borneo. Time series analysis of satellite imagery provides an ideal means of quantifying landscape change and identifying the pathways which lead to the changes. This study investigates the forest and land cover changes by classifying Landsat MSS (Multispectral Scanner), TM (Thematic Mapper) and ETM+ (Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus) images over three time periods (1983–90, 1990–98, and 1998–2000), creating land cover maps for each year and change trajectories for each year-pair. The study area chosen covers an area of 2160 km2 of undulating topography and alluvial plains in the East Kutai District of East Kalimantan Province, which in the 1980s was covered mostly with lowland dipterocarp forest; today the landscape is a patchwork dominated by oil palm and timber plantations and degraded forest. We relate land cover change data to land use allocation and to fire impacts based on fire hotspot distribution and fire damage information. The multidate land cover change trajectories provide an insight into the forest loss and degradation pathways over the 17-year period spanning the first entry of commercial logging concessionaires, followed by a government-sponsored transmigration scheme, government-licensed timber and oil palm plantations and, finally, the devastating fires of 1998. The results show a mean deforestation rate of 42 km2 or 6 per cent per year for 1983–2000, rising to 10 per cent per year for 1990–98; by 2000, 70 per cent of forest initially damaged by fire and drought during the 1982–83 El Niño event was classified as non-forest. Although our study area is perhaps a worst-case scenario in terms of land use planning outcomes, the lessons from this research are directly applicable to scenario prediction for informed forest and land use planning and monitoring.
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There exist thousands of valuation studies for environmental goods and services, but the degree to which these have influenced policy is uncertain, especially in developing countries. Here, we demonstrate that a rapid assessment of the benefits of standing forests in the highlands of Borneo is feasible and can provide useful and timely information for conservation policy decisions. We used existing biophysical and economic information to characterize values associated with forests in areas proposed for oil palm plantation development. We focused on three classes of benefits: avoided damages associated with increased greenhouse gas emissions (carbon storage), avoided damages associated with increased fires, and the economic benefits of forest–agriculture mosaics. Carbon storage values dominated the overall value of standing forests and were of similar magnitude to benefits from oil palm p