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FIRE: THE CHALLENGE TO SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF TROPICAL PEATLANDS
By: Johan Kieft, Lead Technical Adviser at UN Environm...
Damage of 2015: WHY DO WE CARE?
2.6 Million ha
burned
Inadequate support
33% burnt area –
peatland
90% haze – peat fires
O...
Sub surface peat
fuels
= 1000’s t/ha
Phase 1 - Within 1 hour of surface fire passing, standing trees start falling over
du...
Sub surface peat fuels
= 1000’s t/ha
Phase 2 - The now horizontal trees start dropping their leaves as they die
Source: Wi...
Sub surface peat fuels
= 1000’s t/ha
Phase 3 - The new surface fuel layer ignites from the sub-surface fires within 3 to
1...
Sub surface peat fuels
= 1000’s t/ha
Phase 4 - The surface fuels now burn very intensely, are self-sustaining and
widespre...
Phase 5 - High intensity surface fires increase the coverage area and depth of sub-
surface fires, causing full peat depth...
Phase 6 - Finally, the burning peat is self sustaining, causing full peat depth burns
to the underlaying acid sulphate pyr...
IFM – INTEGRATED FIRE MANAGEMENT
What are we doing to help?
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Fire: The Challenge to Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatlands

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Presented by Johan Kieft (Lead Technical Adviser at UN Environment UN-REDD Programme in Indonesia) at "Webinar: If forests and peatlands disappeared, would humanity survive?", 21 August 2019.

Published in: Environment
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Fire: The Challenge to Sustainable Management of Tropical Peatlands

  1. 1. FIRE: THE CHALLENGE TO SUSTAINABLE MANAGEMENT OF TROPICAL PEATLANDS By: Johan Kieft, Lead Technical Adviser at UN Environment UN-REDD Programme in Indonesia
  2. 2. Damage of 2015: WHY DO WE CARE? 2.6 Million ha burned Inadequate support 33% burnt area – peatland 90% haze – peat fires Occurrence in 14 districts Frequency of fires on the rise Peatland disturbance in Sumatra and Kalimantan +/- $16.1 Billion effect Haze disrupted transport, trade and tourism Aerial resources $300 million 22,000 military and police troops $151 Million spent 100,300 people died across Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore 500,000+ cases of acute respiratory infections 2020 target Zero Wild Fires Restore peatlands  Halt development and drainage  Prevention-focused fire & peat management Community based fire prevention Integrated Fire Management Create capacity across the landscape
  3. 3. Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Phase 1 - Within 1 hour of surface fire passing, standing trees start falling over due to the friable soils no longer being able to support the root structures. Surface fuels thus increase to over 150 tons per hectare Vertical live fuel becomes horizontal dead fuel >150 t/ha Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Fire behaviour degraded peat-phase 1 Peat Fire behaviour : Why does peat burn more than regular forests?
  4. 4. Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Phase 2 - The now horizontal trees start dropping their leaves as they die Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Vertical live fuel becomes horizontal dead fuel >150 t/ha Fire behaviour - Phase 2
  5. 5. Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Phase 3 - The new surface fuel layer ignites from the sub-surface fires within 3 to 12 hours after the trees fall over Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Vertical live fuel becomes horizontal dead fuel >150 t/ha Fire behaviour - Phase 3
  6. 6. Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Phase 4 - The surface fuels now burn very intensely, are self-sustaining and widespread Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Vertical live fuel becomes horizontal dead fuel >150 t/ha Fire behaviour - Phase 4
  7. 7. Phase 5 - High intensity surface fires increase the coverage area and depth of sub- surface fires, causing full peat depth burns, even below ground water level Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Vertical live fuel becomes horizontal dead fuel >150 t/ha Fire behaviour - Phase 5
  8. 8. Phase 6 - Finally, the burning peat is self sustaining, causing full peat depth burns to the underlaying acid sulphate pyrite layer which turned land acid . Fire goes out when fuel is exhausted. Surface level subsides to new level New surface level May fill with water (acidic) Source: Wilson et al, 2016 Sub surface peat fuels = 1000’s t/ha Fire behaviour - Phase 6
  9. 9. IFM – INTEGRATED FIRE MANAGEMENT What are we doing to help?

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