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REDD in the news: 18-24 February 2019

REDD-Monitor’s round-up of the week’s news on forests, climate change, and REDD. For regular updates, follow @reddmonitor on Twitter.

18 February 2019

Guest post: Land management ‘blind spots’ make 1.5C goal highly unlikely
By Dr Calum Brown, CarbonBrief, 18 February 2019
The Paris Agreement represents a rare high point in international climate negotiations, with 195 signatories pledging to limit global average temperatures to 1.5C or 2C above pre-industrial levels.
However, despite initial optimism, progress towards meeting this ambition has been lacking. Of the “Nationally Determined Contributions” (NDCs) that describe each country’s plans for cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, most are vague, underwhelming documents that are almost certainly insufficient and unlikely to be implemented in full.

Early rain as Arctic warms means more methane
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 18 February 2019
As the global temperature steadily rises, it ensures that levels of one of the most potent greenhouse gases are increasing in a way new to science: the planet will have to reckon with more methane than expected.
Researchers who monitored one bog for three years in the Alaskan permafrost have identified yet another instance of what engineers call positive feedback. They found that global warming meant earlier springs and with that, earlier spring rains.
And as a consequence, the influx of warm water on what had previously been frozen ground triggered a biological frenzy that sent methane emissions soaring.

ICAO lays down global guidelines for sustainable aviation
By Mili Semlani, Travel Daily, 18 February 2019
Recently, Emirates took off its first-ever sustainably fuelled aircraft, opening the floodgates for an eco-friendly aviation sector. A specialised agency of the United Nations, ICAO has been working since 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world.
It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. In its recent meeting, the 250 experts of ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) established global measures to address aviation’s environmental impact.

Massive restoration of world’s forests would cancel out a decade of CO2 emissions, analysis suggests
By Josh Gabbatiss, Independent, 18 February 2019
Replenishing the world’s forests on a grand scale would suck enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to cancel out a decade of human emissions, according to an ambitious new study.
Scientists have established there is room for an additional 1.2 trillion trees to grow in parks, woods and abandoned land across the planet.
If such a goal were accomplished, ecologist Dr Thomas Crowther said it would outstrip every other method for tackling climate change – from building wind turbines to vegetarian diets.

World’s biggest terrestrial carbon sinks are found in young forests
University of Birmingham press release, 18 February 2019
More than half of the carbon sink in the world’s forests is in areas where the trees are relatively young—under 140 years old—rather than in tropical rainforests, research at the University of Birmingham shows.
These trees have typically ‘regrown’ on land previously used for agriculture, or cleared by fire or harvest and it is their young age that is one of the main drivers of this carbon uptake.

Argentina’s REDD+ National Strategy: Combining a participatory process with sound technical analysis
By Marco Chiu, Luis Panichelli, Lucia Lazzari, Valeria D’Angelo, and Natalia Bizzozero, UN-REDD Programme, 18 February 2019
Addressing the complexities of a land-use change pattern that includes deforestation processes is a challenge that requires managing a complex dynamic of interrelations on the ground, where the interests of a variety of stakeholders meet. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), through REDD+, calls for parties to develop a national strategy that includes concrete actions and measures to address deforestation and forest degradation. Latin American countries have followed different processes according to each country’s specific dynamics. Argentina’s case offers interesting attributes.

Global commodity traders to monitor deforestation in Brazil’s savannah
Reuters, 18 February 2019
Six major commodities traders, including Cargill Inc and Bunge Ltd, have agreed to a common mechanism to monitor soybean supply chains for deforestation in Brazil’s vast Cerrado savannah, according to a statement on Friday.
The Cerrado covers roughly a quarter of Brazil’s territory, the nation’s second-largest biome after the Amazon rainforest. Its plants sink deep roots into the ground, often likened to an upside down forest, forming a major carbon sink whose preservation is vital to the fight against global warming.

Forest fires become burning issue as Indonesia’s election fight heats up
By Wahyudi Soeriaatmadja, The Straits Times, 18 February 2019
A day after Indonesia’s two presidential candidates went head-to-head on issues ranging from the economy to the environment, campaign managers from both camps exchanged heated arguments on Monday (Feb 18), and one topic that stood out was forest fire mitigation.
The follow-up arguments were seen as their move to pick up leftovers from the televised 90-minute encounter in a Jakarta hotel on Sunday night where both men outlined their competing views. [R-M: Subscription needed.]

[Indonesia] Forests and/or pants on fire?: Fact-checking Jokowi’s ‘No fires for 3 years’ statement
Coconuts Jakarta, 18 February 2019
Judging from the post-debate commentary and memes, President Joko Widodo was generally rated the more skilled debater during last night’s verbal sparring match between himself and rival candidate Prabowo Subianto, the second in the run-up to the April 17 election.
But one assertion from the incumbent that has come under fire, especially among environmentalists, is his statement that there had been no forest conflagrations in the last three years under his administration.

[Indonesia] Jokowi Revises Statement on Wildfire in Presidential Debate
By Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, Tempo, 18 February 2019
President Joko Widodo or Jokowi has revised his statement on zero case of wildfire for the past three years that he made in last night’s presidential debate. He explained that he meant to say the number of such cases had plummeted.
“I say that we could deal with wildfires for the past three years, it does not mean there was no case at all, but it nosedived by over 85 percent,” said Jokowi in Pandeglang, Banten, Monday, February 18.
Jokowi said during the past three years the impact of forest fires was less than that of the previous years, and that they did not disrupt flight schedules nor draw any protest from neighboring countries.

Breakthrough for Indonesia’s rainforests
Rainforest Foundation Norway, 18 February 2019
“This is fantastic news for the climate, for the world’s animal and plant species and for the millions of people who depend on these forests”, says the director of the NGO Rainforest Foundation Norway, Mr. Øyvind Eggen.
The Norwegian International Climate and Forest Initiative collaborates with several rainforest countries in order to halt deforestation. The cooperation between the countries is divided into phases, where phase one and two are all about getting the rainforest countries ready to stop deforestation through changes in national legislation and frameworks.
Phase three starts when the rainforest countries manage to reduce deforestation, and that is when Norway starts paying out the big money based on reduced climate emissions. Indonesia has spent many years in the two initial phases.

Norway starts payments to Indonesia for cutting forest emissions
By Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 18 February 2019
Almost a decade after Norway signed a $1-billion deal with Indonesia to help protect its tropical forests, the first payment for reduced emissions will be made after deforestation rates fell, environmentalists and government officials said.
Indonesia imposed a moratorium on forest-clearing under the 2010 climate deal, with payments linked to the Southeast Asian nation’s progress on lowering planet-warming emissions from felling trees, which release carbon when they rot or are burned.

Hugo Blanco, Peru and indigenous rights
By Celia Pérez, The Prisma, 18 February 2019
Despite the economic and social advances of the last century in Latin America, the indigenous population continues to experience a high level of socio-economic inequality compared to the rest of the citizens of Ibero-America.
In fact, according to a 2015 report by Banco Mundial, indigenous groups represent 7.8% of the region’s population and at the same time constitute 14% of the poor and 17% of the extremely poor in Latin America. On the other hand, the report indicates that education has greatly improved the situation for the indigenous people, but they must continue working to improve its quality.

Massive deforestation by refugees in Uganda sparks clashes with local people
By Samuel Okiror, The Guardian, 18 February 2019
The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.

19 February 2019

‘The Uninhabitable Earth’ puts words to a future you don’t want to live in
By Kate Yoder, Grist, 19 February 2019
Prepare yourself for grisly descriptions of how the body breaks down in overwhelming heat, predictions of prehistoric plagues springing back to life beneath melting permafrost, and the possibility of an economic collapse several times worse than the Great Depression.
David Wallace-Wells’ dystopian vision of where we’re headed is guaranteed to scare the bejesus out of readers of his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth. Some will surely have to look away. Wallace-Wells, perhaps surprisingly, seems OK with that. More than a hundred pages in, he writes, “If you have made it this far, you are a brave reader.”

How global media goes wrong on coverage of climate change
By Dahr Jamail, The Print, 19 February 2019
The deliberate obfuscation of truth on global warming and sometimes outright omission of media coverage on climate disruption is similar to the media’s role in covering the US occupation and invasion of Iraq.
As a journalist, I was motivated to provide accurate coverage of the catastrophic consequences the Iraq invasion had on its people. I approached the issue of climate change with the same motivation to cut through the propaganda.

Scientist who popularized term “global warming” dies at 87
AP, 19 February 2019
A scientist who raised early alarms about climate change and popularized the term “global warming” has died. Wallace Smith Broecker was 87.
The longtime Columbia University professor and researcher died Monday at a New York City hospital, according to a spokesman for the university’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Kevin Krajick said Broecker had been ailing in recent months.

The carbon market for aviation – issues under discussion and possibilities for REDD+
By Gabriel Labbate, UN-REDD Programme, 19 February 2019
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has advanced much towards setting the rules for the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA. Under this scheme, airlines will cap emissions at 2020 levels and offset any increase above this threshold. In the absence of a major technological breakthrough, significant amounts of offsetting will be required. The average increase in fuel efficiency is running at about 2% a year but the growth of the industry is well above that. For 2017, the industry reported 4.1 billion passengers, or an increase of 7.6% over the previous year. If nothing changes, emissions from the sector could increase to 300% by 2050. If global aviation were a country, it would rank among the top 10th of emitters.

How the world got hooked on palm oil
By Paul Tullis, The Guardian, 19 February 2019
Once upon a time in a land far, far away, there grew a magical fruit. This fruit could be squeezed to produce a very special kind of oil that made cookies more healthy, soap more bubbly and crisps more crispy. The oil could even make lipstick smoother and keep ice-cream from melting. Because of these wondrous qualities, people came from around the world to buy the fruit and its oil.

Great Australian Bight: Equinor says oil drilling ‘can be done safely’
By Lisa Cox, The Guardian, 19 February 2019
The Norwegian company Equinor is pushing ahead with plans to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight and has published its draft environment plan saying “drilling can be done safely”.
But environment groups have called for the federal government to reject the development, arguing the deepwater project would put pristine coastline and marine life at risk.
Equinor is not required to make its draft environment plan public before submitting it to the regulator, the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (Nopsema).

Indonesian Forest Fires Highlight President’s Campaign Gaffe
Associated Press, 19 February 2019
Deliberately set fires are burning through peatland forests in the Indonesian province of Riau, the disaster agency said Tuesday, just two days after President Joko Widodo incorrectly claimed there’d been no fires for several years.
The agency said that 843 hectares of land have burned in Riau since the beginning of the year and that fire-fighting teams are currently battling blazes in several locations.
“Conditions are expected to become more dry so the potential for fires increases,” it said in a statement.

20 February 2019

REDD+ and the Green Climate Fund: Confirming the Worst Fears
By Simone Lovera-Bilderbeek, Global Forest Coalition, 20 February 2019
The upcoming meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board in Songdo, South Korea, from 26 to 28 February, is likely to be an historic meeting for international forest policy. For the first time, this multi-billion-dollar fund will consider a project proposal that aims to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation or enhance forest carbon stocks (REDD+). REDD+ is in essence a worldwide program to compensate countries for their efforts to conserve forests, and hence at first sight, financial support for REDD+ from what is now the largest environmental fund in the world might seems like great news.

UN passes first ever declaration for peasant rights
By Kimberley Brown, Mongabay, 20 February 2019
Peasant farmers around the world just gained a powerful new tool to protect their rights, which reflects the distinct needs and threats against small-scale farmers worldwide.
The UN’S new Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas, is the first ever international law that grants rights to this population of society. It could benefit one third of the world’s population.

How many trees make a forest?
By Jon Fisher, Mongabay, 20 February 2019
We can agree that deforestation continues to be a massive global problem — in 2016, the world lost over 29.7 million hectares (73.4 million acres) of tree cover, an area almost as large as Italy. That doesn’t even include the loss of grasslands, wetlands, and other important ecosystems. But what exactly is deforestation? For that matter, what is a forest?

Indonesia to get first payment from Norway under $1b REDD+ scheme
By Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 20 February 2019
It’s taken nearly a decade, but Indonesia is finally set to receive the first part of a $1 billion payment pledged by the Norwegian government for preserving some of the Southeast Asian country’s vast tropical rainforests.
Indonesia’s environment minister, Siti Nurbaya Bakar, and her Norwegian counterpart, Ola Elvestuen, made the announcement in Jakarta on Feb. 16. The payment, whose amount is yet to be determined, is for Indonesia preventing the emission of 4.8 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) through reducing its rate of deforestation in 2017.

[Kenya] Tension and transformation in the patriarchy
By Monica Evans, CIFOR Forests News, 20 February 2019
When Jackline Cheplang’at began teaching fellow community members about gender and conservation issues in Kenya’s traditionally patriarchal Rift Valley region, she expected some pushback.
But she didn’t expect to be physically assaulted for what she was saying.
Cheplang’at is a passionate member of her local Water Resource Users Association (WRUA), which works on restoring and preserving the health of the Itare-Chemosit water catchment in the Mau Forest Complex. Deforestation, land conversion, charcoal burning and encroachment for settlement have all taken their toll on the catchment, compromising its ability to provide sufficient clean water for people who live along the river.

Corruption oiling Myanmar’s criminal teak trade reaches to the heart of Government
Environmental Investigation Agency, 20 February 2019
The multi-million dollar international trade in Burmese teak is riddled with crime and high-level corruption in Myanmar, driving conflict and human rights abuses.
Working undercover for two years, our investigators have tracked down and exposed the near-mythic ‘Burmese teak kingpin’ at the hub of an international network.
Known as the ‘Shadow President’ by fellow criminal traders and timber traffickers, the late Cheng Pui Chee (in Thailand, aka Chetta Apipatana) conspired with and bribed the most senior military and Government officials in Myanmar.

[Philippines] 5 killed in huge Benguet forest fire
By Frank Cimatu, Rappler, 20 February 2019
The bodies of 5 men were recovered after a huge forest fire engulfed Eastern Saddle in Ampucao, Itogon, Benguet before noon Wednesday, February 20.
The bodies were all brought to the Philex Mines Sto Niño Hospital.
Four of the dead are Philex Mines foresters identified as Constantino Molina, Daniel Degyem, Dexter Labasan, and Marlon Guiniguin. A resident, Leon Mocate Sr, also perished in the fire.

21 February 2019

UN Secretary-General appoints Inger Andersen of Denmark as Executive Director of the UN Environment
UN Environment, 21 February 2019
Following her nomination by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, the General Assembly today elected Inger Andersen of Denmark to a four-year term as Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Serving as Director General of the International Union for Conservation of Nature since 2015, Ms. Andersen brings a passion for conservation and sustainable development with more than 30 years of experience in international development economics, environmental sustainability and policy-making, as well as in designing and implementing projects and generating on-the-ground impact from working with a small Non-Governmental Organization in Sudan to multilateral and international settings with a constant focus on poverty eradication.

Surprising findings on forest fires
University of Bonn press release, 21 February 2019
Several years ago, an international team of scientists raised sediments from the bottom of Lake Van in eastern Turkey reflecting the past 600,000 years. Soil scientists and paleobotanists have now evaluated the drill cores for residues of early fires — with surprising findings. The fires did not mainly occur during particularly dry periods as assumed, but in comparatively humid and warm periods.

Voices from the field: Sustainable Forest Management through Community Forestry in Colombia
By Adriana P. Yepes Quintero, UN-REDD, 21 February 2019
Local communities are key forest stakeholders, and their involvement in decision-making and sustainable management of forests generates positive outcomes for livelihoods, rural development, and forest conservation. In particular, countries in Latin America are advancing in the process of developing the concepts of community forestry as a collaborative governance approach to forest management. The approach is also a crucial part of countries’ efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD+) and contribute to national and global action to combat climate change. For example in Colombia, it has been estimated that more than one million people depend on forests for their livelihoods.

IEEFA Germany: RWE’s coal phaseout compensation demands defy market prices
Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, 21 February 2019
If market price is the benchmark for compensating the early closure of coal assets, then recent deals indicate that Germany’s coal and lignite power plants and mines have very low value, and make a mockery of compensation claims by Germany’s biggest utility, RWE, under the country’s pending coal phaseout plan.
RWE says it wants to be compensated for the premature closure of its coal power plants in line with the most generous pay-outs of the past, a position that ignores the darkening outlook for coal mining and generation, and which pits the company against genuinely affected mining communities for precious taxpayer funds.

Indonesia Reduces Deforestation, Norway to Pay Up
By Frances Seymour, World Resources Institute, 21 February 2019
Indonesia was one of the few tropical nations to reduce its deforestation rates in 2017, and it’s paying off.
Norway announced on February 16 that it will provide the first results-based payment to Indonesia as part of a REDD+ agreement the two nations established in 2010. REDD+, which stands for reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, is a framework under the international Paris Agreement on climate change in which developed nations pay developing countries to protect their forests as a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Norway’s payment not only promises to boost forest-protection efforts in Indonesia, it can potentially inject more finance into REDD+ globally.

Swedish student leader wins EU pledge to spend billions on climate
By Clare Roth, Reuters, 21 February 2019
The European Union should spend hundreds of billions of euros combating climate change during the next decade, its chief executive said on Thursday, responding to a Swedish teen who has inspired a global movement of children against global warming.
In a speech alongside 16-year-old Greta Thunberg in Brussels, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for suggesting climate change was “invented” and “ideological”.

[Liberia] FAO Provides Development Support to FDA for Forest Analysis on Biomass, Carbon
Front Page Africa, 21 February 2019
As part of efforts to buttress the effort of the government, the FAO in partnership with the Forest Development Authority organized a capacity development event at the week where data managers from the National Forest Inventory (NFI) were trained in data analysis for biomass and carbon estimation.
Since the inception of the “Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) in Liberia”, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has worked closely with the government of Liberia through the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) in promoting sustainable forest management in Liberia.

Thai community forest bill won’t benefit all, campaigners say
By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 21 February 2019
A new community forest bill that aims to give Thai villagers more say in managing natural resources is too limited in its scope and risks further marginalising those living outside areas covered by the act, land campaigners said on Thursday.
The bill – which was first drafted more than 30 years ago – was approved by Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly last week, according to forestry department officials, and is expected to become law within 180 days.

22 February 2019

We’ve had an apocalyptic warning: now will we care about biodiversity?
By Martha Gill, The Guardian, 22 February 2019
For a global hazard to really get respect these days, it has to threaten Armageddon. Climate change, for instance, is the stuff of apocalyptic movies: it is about flooding, fire and famine.
The loss of biodiversity, on the other hand – the shrinking spread of species on the planet – ranks further down the scale. This is about dying bumblebees in Poland, or fewer species of fish in the Red Sea, or red squirrels being kicked out by grey ones. It is not the stuff of films starring Dennis Quaid as a divorced scientist who was right all along, and tends to reach headlines as a worry mostly for the bees and squirrels involved (with perhaps a line or two from experts about the knock-on effects). It does not seem to threaten the rest of us.

Climate change stokes mayhem in several ways
By Tim Radford, Climate News Network, 22 February 2019
Stand by for long hot summers marked by riot and racial tension. As climate change stokes mayhem, global warming is likely to see a direct rise in human irritability.
Climate change accompanied by natural disaster such as flood or drought could lead to harvest failure and food and water shortages for which people must compete.
And the same natural disasters could lead to a generation of babies, children and adolescents more likely, because of disadvantage and deprivation, to become more prone to violence in adulthood.

The climate knows no boundaries
By Olafur Eliasson, UN Developmen Programme, 22 February 2019
I want to share with you a memory from my childhood: it’s sometime in the 1970s, and although the adults are all worried about the energy crisis, for me the world feels in order. I am playing with a toy boat in a creek in Iceland. I place the boat in the milky water and race downstream to fetch it again. I lose myself in the game, am caught in the moment, in the flow of the here and now. The boat is the boat; the river, the river.

With satellites and supply chains, global brands take aim at deforestation
By Chris Meyer, Environmental Defense Fund, 22 February 2019
Global tree cover loss data for 2018 aren’t in yet, but most observers agree the picture remains mixed, at best. While some countries appear to be slowing deforestation, others — including, notably, Brazil — are now accelerating the conversion of rainforests to farmland.
At this juncture, market forces hold significant sway over rainforest survival and can complement any progress national governments or international bodies make. Under pressure from consumers and worried that run-away climate change will affect their supply chains, large international brands are applying new technology and novel strategies to try to lessen their impact on tropical forests.

Low-cost drones fly to the rescue of the world’s forests, 22 February 2019
Almost 1.6 billion people – more than a quarter of the global population – rely on forests for their livelihood. Of this number, it’s said that around 60 million indigenous people are almost entirely dependent on forests to survive. Forests not only help these people to subsist, they also provide a number of essential services. They protect the soil, regulate water and support biodiversity. Equally important, they also store carbon, playing an important role in the fight against climate change.

[UK] Minister’s plans for carbon pricing and Brexit
UK Parliament, 22 February 2019
Carbon pricing is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the cost of emitting them. One of the main carbon pricing mechanisms in the UK is the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, but it’s likely that we will withdraw from the EU ETS when we leave the EU.
In a ‘deal’ situation, the Government hopes to create a domestic emissions trading scheme and link it to the EU ETS. In a ‘no deal’ situation, the Government intends to implement a Carbon Emissions Tax. The Committee will be asking the Minister to discuss both of these possibilities in more detail.

23 February 2019

[Australia] Tasmanian bushfires and aftermath captured in ‘striking, horrible’ photographs
By Georgie Burgess, ABC News, 23 February 2019
shfires, not just for their perverse beauty, but to show people the scale and aftermath.
When thousands of hectares were alight in southern Tasmania from the Riveaux Road fire, which is still burning at Advice level, Mr Monk headed out with a camera.

Forest Fires Consume Central and Southern Chile
Prensa Latina, 23 February 2019
A total of 44 forest fires in areas of central and southern Chile were reported today in their most recent part by the National Emergency Office of the Ministry of the Interior (Onemi).
According to the report, at 0830 local time there were 15 active claims, another 27 were under control and only two had been extinguished by the firefighters and crews of the National Forestry Corporation (Conaf).
In addition, Onemi reported that the regions of Valparaíso, in the central zone of the country, and the Aysén region in the extreme south are kept on red alert.

[India] Major fire breaks out at Bandipur Tiger Reserve hundreds of acres destroyed
By Prajwal Bhat, The News Minute, 23 February 2019
A major fire has broken out in the forest areas of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve on Saturday. The fire, which had begun on Thursday, continued to spread on Saturday in spite of the efforts of fire fighting officials who are on the spot. Officials on ground estimate that hundreds of acres of forest areas have been destroyed by the fire.
The fire has spread across Kundakere, Bandipur and Gopalaswamy Betta ranges of the tiger reserve aided by strong winds which helped propel it.

Many forest fire hotspots discovered in Indonesia
VNA, 23 February 2019
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) in Pekanbaru, Indonesia, has detected 54 hotspots at high risk of bush and forest fires in several parts of Riau province, Sumatra island.
Head of the agency Sukisno said based on the latest images released by the Terra & Aqua Satellite, half of the hotspots were discovered in seven wards and districts in the province.
As many as 28 hotspots were found in Bengkalis district, including Rupat Island with 22 hotspots.

24 February 2019

Forest Fires in Indonesia a Decade Ago May Have Stunted The Growth of Children Today
By Carly Cassella, Science Alert, 24 February 2019
In 1997, Indonesia was devastated by a series of uncontrollable wildfires, now considered some of the worst in history.
During this tragic event, nearly 11 million hectares (27.2 million acres) of land were set ablaze for new crops, with smoke and haze extending far and wide, smothering the nearby cities of Brunei, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
The air pollution at this time was so awful it might have actually stunted the next generation’s growth.
New research has now found evidence that even children in the womb were exposed to this smoky pall, potentially making them several centimetres shorter as a result.

[Indonesia] 100 soldiers flown to Riau to help fight land, forest fires
Antara News, 24 February 2019
A company of 100 soldiers from the Army`s Strategic Reserve Command (Kostrad) arrived in Riau province on Sunday to help fight forest and land fires in Rupat Island.
The soldiers will join the province`s forest and land fire control task force in combating forest and land fires on the island, the Wira Bima military resort command said in a press statement.
Led by First Lieutenant Imam Wahyudi, the soldiers from the Kostrad`s armed battalion were flown to Riau from the Halim Perdanakusuma military base in East Jakarta by an Indonesian Air Force (TNI AU) Hercules plane.

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