Impacts of peat fires: threat to forests and wildlife

Like other tropical forests, Indonesia’s peat-swamp forests are rich in biodiversity. OuTrop’s data shows at least 68 mammal, 167 bird and 218 tree species live in the Sabangau Forest. This includes many globally threatened species, such as the Bornean orangutan, southern Bornean gibbon, clouded leopard and Storm’s stork. Bornean orangutans: A mother and her infant […]

What is El Niño and why is it linked to Indonesia’s fires?

We recently talked about why Indonesia’s peatlands are so susceptible to fire when drained. While this creates the underlying conditions, when fire can become established and spread, there is also a very clear influence of rainfall on the incidence and severity of fires in the region. Peatland fire near the Sabangau Forest this month. Photo […]

Why are peat-swamp forests so vulnerable to fire?

The current intense dry season is leading to fires, across Borneo and Sumatra, which have taken hold in peatland areas. Logic might dictate that these areas should not be susceptible to fire: they are swamps, after all, swamps are by definition wet and wet things don’t burn, so surely peat swamps should be highly resistant […]