New maps reveal more complex picture of Sumatran fires
Policy interventions for mitigating fires require solid information on who is setting fires to whose land. However, this basic information is missing, because competing claims over land ownership in Indonesia gives rise to confusion over who is setting fires to whose land.
Land use and land tenure in Indonesia are governed by a tangle of national, provincial and customary laws that often compete with each other, resulting in confusion over who owns which bit of land. This situation is exacerbated by an influx of land-seeking migrants and by investments in agricultural expansion by mid-level investors of unknown origin. Tensions — and occasionally conflict — can arise among these land users. Another confounding factor is the fact that fires move across the landscape, propelled by topography and wind.
One cannot assume — based only on fire hotspot locations overlaid on concession maps — that burning within concessions is caused by large companies.