Right now Indonesian farmers are burning hundreds of thousands of hectares of the oldest rainforests on earth to clear land for plantation crops. The resulting smoke has covered Southeast Asia in a thick haze, affecting the health of hundreds of millions of people. This happens every year, which is incredibly frustrating because the Indonesian government made slash-and-burn agriculture largely illegal in 2001, following the severe regional haze it generated 1997-1998. On paper those laws were strengthened in 2009 and again 2014, but in actuality the 2015-2016 season is likely to be the worst on record.
October 9, 2015 4:10 PM EDT
Much of western Indonesia is currently undergoing massive fires, producing enormous amounts of smoke-haze, and disrupting large parts of society in the region. This is unlikely to be ‘normal’ seasonal burning; it could rank among the worst fire seasons on record in Indonesia, with frequent and larger fires this year than in previous years. The burning will likely last for at least another month.
October 7, 2015 4:45 PM EDT
Residents in Southeast Asia are currently being subjected to a heavy blanket of smoke and haze spreading across the region. The haze originates in large part from the burning of forests and peat soils in order to prepare land for agriculture, such as palm oil. But reading news reports and even seeing pictures cannot always convey the daily experience in the way that first-hand accounts can. Read more >
May 9, 2014 1:34 PM EDT
At first glance, tropical peat soils might not seem all that exciting. Dead branches and leaves that have not fully decomposed because of waterlogged conditions? Once upon a time, even I might have found this, well, boring. Read more >
April 11, 2014 4:41 PM EDT