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Peat fires: emissions likely to worsen

The horrific haze from Indonesia's forest and peatland fires, started deliberately to clear land for planting and made worse by drought, has become a global crisis. Indonesia's government could stop this annual catastrophe, but it so far seems to lack the political will to do so.

In the past decade, Indonesia has destroyed its forests faster than any other nation (see By one estimate, daily carbon emissions from its forest and peatland fires now exceed those from the entire US economy (see

The situation is likely to worsen: Indonesia and Malaysia are planning to set up a Council of Palm Oil Producing Countries. This intends to force major forest-exploiting corporations to relax their zero-deforestation pledges (see Oil-palm expansion is one of the biggest drivers of peatland and forest destruction.

Localized actions and belated half-measures by the Indonesian government are no longer enough. Aided by the global community, it must ban fires in peatlands and native forests; declare a moratorium on clearing peatlands; restore water to degraded peatlands; and create financial incentives for provinces to reduce deforestation.

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Correspondence to Susan G. Laurance.

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Laurance, S., Laurance, W. Peat fires: emissions likely to worsen. Nature 527, 305 (2015).

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