In reference to Nature's 10 November 2004 article on the burning peat swamps of Indonesian Borneo (see Burning Borneo accelerates climate change), Rhett Harrison says the problem is neither restricted to Indonesia, nor simply a matter of poor local politics.
Similar fires occurred in Malaysian Borneo in 1997 and 1998, writes Harrison, and with equally devastating effects.
He says the root of the problem is four-fold: environmental mismanagement, the expansion of plantations and urban development, increased access to remote areas and poor law enforcement.
Until these are addressed, says Harrison, fires will continue to be a problem during periods of drought. The fires' effects on the environment and their contribution to climate change make this a pressing global issue.
Reference: Nature 433, 13 (2005)
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