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PHOTO: by Jeefry Wiraswastama-The United Dayak Up shrubs at the edge in any way already burning (

By Alma Gawei Oceandy The Dayak United (file) on Monday, 3 October 2011 at 15:15 ·

The article below I wrote in mid-2003 in order to overcome the problems con consultation forest fires and smoke in Central Kalimantan since 1997 occurred almost every year and have been published in the daily Kalteng Post. Eight years have passed, but still the same problem we face. It's a vicious circle (vicious cycle) problem is the large forest fires that can only be decided by a radical act of all aspects simultaneously (concerted actions). Let us not wait until everything has been burned and the next generation every year in smoked (smoked generation) that terhilangkan their right to a better quality of health and is unable to think of a way out of this vicious circle. Demi is all grown up now they must act.


Forest Fire: A Vicious Cycle

1. Preliminary
Borneo has a subscription annually forest fires. Some of us may think of this as a normal thing which is the cycle of nature and just accept it. But look more often and extent of the smoke nuisance caused by these fires, we must be careful that this is not the usual forest fires in Ngaju Dayak language we know as "supposed". Forest fires in the last 6 years can be categorized as natural disasters.

It is unfortunate that the efforts of central and local governments especially relevant agencies to prevent the recurrence of forest fires and sensitize employers and the public is minimal, always late and while impressed. Opportunity to prepare for the prevention of forest fires in the dry season is not used to its full potential. Law enforcement and making additional rules to control the use of fire in forest lands close ranks are not prioritized by the relevant agencies and Parliament / Council. One example is the news of a fire engine Palangkaraya municipality owned forest which proves that the brake tension supporting facilities to extinguish a forest fire is not feasible. While many studies conducted by researchers from within and outside the country seem futile because of lack of awareness and agility of the Central Government to actualize the results of these studies in government policies.

David Glover and his friends in the book "Indonesia's Fire and Haze" in 1999 memperkitakan magnitude of economic losses caused by forest fires in 1997 to about 5 million hectares of land and property suffered by 70 million people in Indonesia and neighboring countries. Losses for Indonesia is estimated at Rp.32, 3 trillion which is 85% of the total losses and Rp 5, 7 trillion suffered by neighboring countries. This picture is a picture of the long-term health problems, changes in biological diversity, reduced aesthetic value and loss of foreign investor confidence. Meanwhile Susan Page and his colleagues estimate the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from fires in the 0.79 million hectares of forest peat in their research area can reach 0.28 gigatonnes of carbon equivalent of 4.4% of the total carbon emissions worldwide each year (Nature Volume No. 420. 6911 p. 61). Carbon emissions into the atmosphere and then cause pollution and the greenhouse effect. Total losses of the above (approximately Rp.38 trillion) equivalent to 2.5% of GDP and exceeds the amount of funds needed to provide water and sanitation facilities for 120 million poor people. This amount is also more than twice the total foreign aid received by Indonesia each year.

Forest fires have been a vicious circle that the longer occurs the greater the danger that we will face. The loss of forest resources and environmental systems function for regional and local communities whose lives depend on the forests and the potential dangers that we pass on to our children a deep cause for concern. Although it has been often discussed, this paper seeks to summarize again the causal factors of forest fires continued to study the local and global impact of forest fires. This paper also proposed several measures to the government and we do to stop the rotation of the vicious circle of this forest fire.

2. The factors causing forest fires
Forest fires will only happen if there are two factors: the danger of fire (fire hazard) and the risk of fire (fire risk). Fire hazard is a measure of the amount, type and level of dryness of potential fuel (eg, pieces of wood, twigs and dried leaves) in the woods. Fire risk is the possibility of the fuel to start burning the most likely done intentionally in community activities.

Perhaps many of us who consider land clearing by burning is common. Indeed, this practice has been carried out since thousands of years ago for generations. But why only now practice this pose a problem? The answers are below.

At the beginning of tropical forests is not flammable and even burned (in the limit of the carrying capacity) of forest will be able to return to the original state of the ecosystem in a certain period. The principle of field burning in the dry season by farmers traditionally the cheapest way to clear land and soil fertility increased again. Rotation land as the principle of shifting cultivation and then provide opportunities for native species to return to the starting composition that has a high tolerance against fire. We need to realize that with the increasing number of residents on the island of Borneo the more the land is burned and the longer it is used seiringnya with less land and settled practice fields. This situation ultimately not give the opportunity for the regeneration of native vegetation. This is then compounded by the timber companies, timber estates and plantations also use the burning of forests to clear land in very large sizes. The rise of the timber companies, and plantation timber is due to high government support without the rule of law and strict environmental controls.

Besides increasing the risk of fire, burning practices on the land increase the number of fire hazards (fire hazard) in the forest. Fields that had just left the farmers and plantation would overgrown reeds used as a pioneer plant. Reed can be as fuel because it is flammable. Logging companies left many remnants of pieces of wood, branches and twigs are also easily burn. Project peatlands million hectares in 1995-1999 with a lot of clearing and digging canals to drain the peat soil moisture has reduced drastically. Along with the reduced diversity of vegetation on the surface, the timber and plantations, native species were also replaced with industrial plants are highly flammable. Humidity of tropical forests is also reduced due to the opening of foliage cover (canopy) which facilitates sunlight reaching the surface. Selective logging system also plays a role in the decline of forest mebuka humidity 40-50% of the canopy. Large-scale land clearing also means eliminating the barrier function of forests as water and wind. All these practices create forest fragments flammable which means increasing the fire hazard.

The high fire hazard (fire hazard) is equipped with a high risk of fire would automatically lead to forest fires. This is evident from the results of the mapping of forest fire spots indicating that the location of the forest fire is located in an area of ​​human activity. Forest fires then is a vicious circle which if not controlled will lead to increased disaster. Why is that? We will discuss below.

We all know that all natural elements in the world are related to one another. Change one element has an influence on other elements both on a local, regional and global levels. Forest fires in 1997-1998 exacerbated by prolonged drought caused by the El-Nino phenomenon that plays a role in reducing 10% of the annual rainfall in Borneo. El-Nino itself is related to human activities such as industrial pollution and global climate is getting warmer. Several studies have concluded that the frequency of occurrence of El-Nino higher. Forest fires alone on one side will cause global warming by the release of carbon monoxide and methane that contributes to the greenhouse effect.

Opportunities for the burnt forest to return to initial conditions depend on the extent and intensity of fires. A small fire took about 50 years, while tens and hundreds of years it takes to restore the medium and large fires. The seeds and roots of native vegetation existing underground fires will die on medium to large scale. Research also proves that the more frequent burning at the same field will reduce the quality of the crop. In addition, the vulnerability of forests against fire will be higher with more frequent fires in the forest. Remaining forests became emaciated and unable mentranspirasi which means more water increases the danger of fire (fire hazard). Fires every year caused more extensive damage / degradation. This suggests that forest fires are a vicious circle, more and more frequent. Figure 1 shows the inter-process feedback control forest fires.

3. The impacts of forest fires
The impacts of these fires can be categorized into economic, environmental, and health. Total economic losses nationwide have been mentioned in the introduction. Direct economic losses are: (1) the burning of wood resources, the results of field / farm and wild animals in vain, (2) the loss of other resources such as foodstuffs and medicines and recreation, (3) reduced visibility interfere with the drivers on land, water and air, (4) peliburan employees and school children because of the smoke nuisance. Indirect losses caused by the loss of environment and health will be discussed below. Long-term economic losses will be felt for local communities dependent on forest products such as foodstuffs, rattan, medicine and wood.

Losses environment itself is a long list, among others, the following: (1) the loss of biological diversity and habitat for wildlife, (2) loss of the ability of forests to retain water leading to water shortages in the dry season and floods during the rainy season; (3) increased erosion which is then washed away soil nutrients and sediments into the river, causing the proliferation of water hyacinth, siltation of rivers and lack of oxygen in the river water which ended its effect reduced river fish production, (4) interference with the hydrologic cycle in which reduced atmospheric humidity in the forest area, the formation of rain-producing clouds will decrease. Aerosols generated during forest fires also reduce the amount of rain and cause drought and hold pollutants in the air, (5) gas and pollutant addition to contributing to global warming also experience chemical reactions in the atmosphere that can produce ozone and acid rain harmful to creatures life, (6) the release of carbon into the atmosphere to global warming which then causes climate change and the higher average temperatures. This situation caused many fires and less rainfall in all parts of the world. On the other side of the world's global warming would lead to flooding, (7) the loss of the forest as a carbon reservoir bag (carbon sink) also play a role in local and global warming.

Meanwhile, the health impacts caused by forest fires mainly caused by air pollution from toxic substances such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, methane and aromatic hydrocarbons (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), which is accumulative and cause cancer. This air pollution causes many diseases such as respiratory tract infections, sore eyes and skin, especially in those who are vulnerable such as children and elderly people.

4. Efforts to prevent forest fires
From the above discussion it is clear that the problem of forest fires cause economic, environmental and health was very bad. Economic benefits from forest exploitation is merely a short-term (20-30 years) losses suffered by the environment and surrounding population can reach a hundred years. Experts have many suggestions for preventing forest fires in Kalimantan. Unfortunately the seriousness of the government to deal with this issue very less. The key to prevention lies in the management of forest fires and forest land burning activities. Regional autonomy and the number of new districts greatly feared could cause forest fires are worse because of the exploitation of forests is considered as the fastest way to increase revenue. Figure 1 shows the processes that forest fires can be controlled by management and intervention.

Policies and procedures and the allocation of land use should be improved to ensure the use of forest resources that are environmentally friendly and long-term. Remote sensing technologies (remote sensing) and geographic information system (GIS) to facilitate the planning and regulation of land use and the early detection of fires is not lacking to support efforts to prevent this. Target transfer of forest land to logging, plantations and estates should be reduced and adjusted to the carrying capacity of the environment. Transfer activity in peat swamp forest lands should be eliminated so easily remember the peat fire and difficult to extinguish or if it must be done within the framework of urban development should be done with extreme caution. Therefore, each company must provide environmental impact study of the activities they will conduct. Law enforcement and strict control on forest use activities should be applied.

Fire fighting facilities such as fire engines capable of reaching remote areas and a network of water hydrants shall be provided in each district as a whole to prevent fires wide. The doors of the controller can be made on the canals in order to maintain the high ground water level in the forest. The University Palangkaraya expected to enhance research in order to prevent forest fires and search for appropriate methods to clean up and improve soil fertility. No less important is the awareness of employers and the community will be long-term effects of forest fires bigger losses than short-term gains from land clearing by burning. This awareness can be supported by providing penalties / fines for reckless use of fire in the dry season. Supporting facilities such as health centers and hospitals also need to be prepared to help people who are sick. Masks should be provided free or at a low price. It is also important fire fighting training for people living in the surrounding forest.

We have seen that the most disadvantaged because forest fires are local people whose lives depend on the benefits and functions of the forest. Already a right of local communities to defend the Dayak community and determine their own fate and the fate of their offspring in this case health care quality. It is ironic that since the days of New Order and Reform is only those centers and senior officials who enjoy the benefits of the exploitation of forest resources in Kalimantan while locals only just got the dregs. Local communities should have a voice in the decision-making of any development projects related to the forests where they live. Marginalized local communities need to be assisted by the universities and NGOs. Movement is compact and powerful people certainly capable of making the Government and its officials to pay more attention to the interests of the people rather than just their own interests. Elements of corruption and greed in the ranks of government must be removed first in order to ensure the realization of this goal.

Final word, which is needed to break the vicious cycle of forest fire problems increasingly large is a radical movement in all aspects simultaneously (concerted actions). Hopefully this article can help to increase our awareness of the dangers of forest fires and recalls the importance of preventing the vicious cycle of forest fires and children for the sake of plot Danum beloved ESU (land aiar beloved children and grandchildren). - August 2003.
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