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Jakarta Post

Beyond swidden agriculture: Rethinking approach to fires

  • Willy Daeli


Jakarta   /   Tue, November 12, 2019   /  12:41 pm
Beyond swidden agriculture: Rethinking approach to fires An officer with the Environment and Forestry Ministry's law enforcement directorate general takes a photo near a wildfire location in Kubu Raya regency, West Kalimantan. (Courtesy of/Environment and Forestry Ministry)

The use of fire in swidden agriculture is not as simple as just burning down the forest. It presents an interconnected relationship between ecological knowledge and socialcultural values. However, swiddening communities are often accused as being one of the contributors to catastrophic fires in Indonesia. In addition, they often become victims of reactive fire policies (e.g. the prohibition of using fire). Swidden agriculture is part of the livelihood (either fully or partly) for 14 to 34 million rural people in Southeast Asia. Fire swiddening has long been a cornerstone of agricultural practices in Indonesia. In general, swiddening is a practice of subsistence agriculture (e.g. to plant rice) to feed local communities. It involves converting secondary forest areas into fields for planting crops using slash and burn techniques to clear the area of trees or other vegetation. This pract...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.