According to the World Resource Institute, there have been close to 100,000 forest fires in Indonesia in 2015. Together these burning resulted in habitat loss for wildlife, critical haze problem, and of course, pollution. In fact, since the forests in Indonesia began burning in early September, the average daily carbon emissions from the fire have surpassed that of the U.S.A, and at one point, doubled the average daily emissions from the entire U.S. economy.
What's even more worrying is the fact that more than half of the fires that occurred last month happened on peatland. Peatlands are actually wetlands with thick water-logged organic soil layer that contains dead plant material. The soil contains a much higher concentration of carbon than ordinary land, accumulated over thousands of years. Setting fire to peatlands is more deadly than burning other types of land. Putting that into perspective, burning activity releases methane, a greenhouse gases 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But peat fire releases 10 times more methane than fire occurring on other types of land.
|On October 14, which had the highest number of fires to date this year with 4,719, MODIS Terra imagery reveals smoke plumes from massive peat fires on Kalimantan. Image: wri.org|
|Image taken on 3rd November 2015. Image: http://indofire.landgate.wa.gov.au/|