Waiting to exhale: The politics of fire in Indonesia

From elections to elephants ... Nothing is simple when it comes to the causes of Indonesia’s fires.
More than water: Research shows that efforts to end Indonesia’s fires must begin well before the match is lit. Aulia Erlangga/CIFOR

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Asia Pacific - Why are there more land fires in Indonesia before an election? Why are oil palm plantations burned also? Why does everyone involved see the fires differently?

And what do elephants have to do with any of it?

The devastating land and forest fires in Indonesia begin long before someone lights a match: They start with a complex entanglement of politics, economics, power and practice.

And so, researchers argue, avoiding further fires means understanding these root causes and helping everyone involved see how they fit in.

In this video, scientists from CIFOR describe some of the intriguing and as yet unexplained elements emerging from their research into the causes of Indonesia’s fires.

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