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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 20(4)

Effect of repeated fires on land-cover change on peatland in southern Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, from 1973 to 2005

Agata Hoscilo A C, Susan E. Page A, Kevin J. Tansey A and John O. Rieley B

A Department of Geography, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, UK.
B School of Geography, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK.
C Corresponding author. Email: ah165@le.ac.uk

International Journal of Wildland Fire 20(4) 578-588 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WF10029
Submitted: 4 March 2010  Accepted: 19 October 2010   Published: 20 June 2011

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Fire plays an increasingly important role in deforestation and degradation of carbon-dense tropical peatlands in South-east Asia. In this study, analysis of a time-series of satellite images for the period 1973–2005 showed that repeated, extensive fires, following drainage and selective logging, played an important role in land-cover dynamics and forest loss in the peatlands of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. A study of peatlands in the former Mega Rice Project area revealed a rising trend in the rate of deforestation and identified fire as the principal factor influencing subsequent vegetation succession. A step change in fire regime was identified, with an increase in burned area and fire frequency following peatland drainage. During the 23-year pre-Mega Rice Project period (1973–1996), peat swamp forest was the most extensive land-cover class and fires were of relatively limited extent, with very few repeated fires. During the 9-year post-Mega Rice Project period (1997–2005), there was a 72% fire-related loss in area of peat swamp forest, with most converted to non-woody vegetation, dominated by ferns or mosaics of trees and non-woody vegetation, rather than cultivated land.

Additional keywords: burned area detection, carbon loss, deforestation, Mega Rice Project, peat swamp forest, remote sensing, tropical peatland.


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