The Indonesian government failed to live up to its promises to reduce fires across the tropical nation last year, reports Mongabay.com.
It quotes The Jakarta Post as saying that the nation’s 2009 State Environment Report revealed a 59% increase in the number of fire hotspots from 19,192 in 2008 to 32,416 last year.
Officials are reported as saying that land clearing was the primary cause because, unlike temperature forests, intact rainforests rarely burn naturally.
“Illegal land clearing with fires by local people in Kalimantan and Sumatra is still rampant,” Heddy Mukna, deputy assistant for forest and land management at the Environment Ministry told the Post.
The state of Kalimantan on the island of Borneo saw fires triple in some areas from 2008 to 2009.
Haze blanketed much of the island last year during the “burning season”.
In 2007, the Indonesian government announced plan to cut forest fires in half to mitigate climate change from 35,279 fires in 2006.
The government has since revised that reduction from 50% to just 20%.
Indonesia is the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world behind China and the US.
An estimated 80% of the nation’s 2.3 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions is from rainforest and peatland destruction.
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