By Admin
from Pantau Gambut
Amidst the ongoing pollution in Jakarta, several peatland ecosystems are grappling with smoke pollution due to forest and land fires.
Karhutla di Lahei Mangkutub, Kapuas, Kalimantan Tengah ©WALHI Kalteng
Land and Forest Fires at Lahei Mangkutub, Kapuas, Central Kalimantan ©WALHI Kalteng

Pantau Gambut has noted several incidents of forest fires during August 2023. In that month alone, Pantau Gambut identified at least 271 Peatland Hydrological Units (PHUs) that were on fire. These affected PHUs were spread across 89 districts and cities in 19 provinces of Indonesia. Notably, West Kalimantan and Central Kalimantan emerged as the two regions experiencing the most intense fires.

Chart 1. Number of Hotspots from January to August 2023 as analyzed by Pantau Gambut across all confidence levels (Source: MODIS, NOAA, and SNPP)

Jumlah Titik Panas Periode Januari–Agustus 2023 ©Pantau Gambut

Using satellite imagery, Pantau Gambut identified 14,437 hotspots during this period. This number surged by more than fourfold compared to July when there were 3,309 hotspots. These hotspot findings serve as indicators of potential forest and land fires, signified by significantly higher temperatures compared to their surroundings. Pantau Gambut also detected 6,700 hotspots within protected peatland ecosystems during August 2023. According to the Indonesian Government Regulation No. 57 of 2016, which amends Government Regulation No. 71 of 2014 regarding the Protection and Management of Peat Ecosystems, protected areas should maintain high water levels. In essence, the presence of these hotspots suggests potential drainage in these areas, which can lead to fires.

Pantau Gambut's analysis identified 3,816 hotspots across a total of 208 concession areas. Abil Salsabila, a campaigner at Pantau Gambut, noted, "The presence of hotspots within corporate concessions raises questions about the commitment of concession holders to fire prevention efforts within their operational areas." This highlights the government's inadequate oversight of corporations. In this context, the integration of palm oil plantations within forested areas increases the risk to peatland ecosystems, necessitating a reevaluation of this concession policy

Table 1. The top 5 concessions operating in peatland areas with more than 100 hotspots within their operational zones in August 2023 (Source: Pantau Gambut)


Daftar 5 besar konsesi yang beroperasi di lahan gambut dengan lebih dari 100 titik panas pada area kerjanya di Bulan Agustus 2023  ©Pantau Gambut

Following the field findings, the forest police team from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry's Gakkum Center for Law Enforcement in Kalimantan took action by sealing off four concessions: PT MTI, PT CG, PT SUM, and PT FWL. Despite this being the appropriate measure, Abil emphasizes, "There must be further steps taken against these concessions because sealing is not part of the legal process. We need follow-ups to conduct investigations, prosecutions, and lawsuits if they are found guilty!"

Walhi Central Kalimantan includes findings from field monitoring conducted in four districts/cities, Kapuas, Palangka Raya, Katingan, and Pulang Pisau. Bayu Herinata, along with his team, discovered signs of forest and land fires in three concessions: PT Industrial Forest Plantation, PT Sakti Mait Jaya Langit, and PT Karya Luhur Sejati (a subsidiary of Best Agro International). Bayu explained, "There are indications that these fires are part of efforts to open up new land."

Karhutla di Kereng Pangi, Katingan, Kalimantan Tengah ©WALHI Kalteng
Karhutla di Kereng Pangi, Katingan, Kalimantan Tengah ©WALHI Kalteng

Media Contact 

If you require guidance or consultation regarding this publication, you may contact:

Wahyu A Perdana  082112395919    Pantau Gambut's Campaigner
Yoga Aprillianno     081390203344    Pantau Gambut's Media Campaigner

Pantau Gambut Network Contact 

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