Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

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 go.nature.com/b9rhxz). By one estimate, daily carbon emissions from its forest and peatland fires now exceed those from the entire US economy (see go.nature.com/hpworu).

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 go.nature.com/agvbhn). 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.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Susan G. Laurance.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Laurance, S., Laurance, W. Peat fires: emissions likely to worsen. Nature 527, 305 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1038/527305a

Download citation

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing