Viola Bizard: Living with the Risk of Fire in Indonesia’s Peatlands, pp. 319-343
This paper discusses emic perspectives on the fire risk in Indonesia’s peatlands. The extensive, recurrent peat fires in the last decades not only threaten the sustainability of local livelihoods. Burning peat and peat forest also has a social, economic, and environmental impact of global significance, including high CO2 emissions, acrid smoke and haze, and loss of critical carbon sinks and bio¬diversity. Based on fieldwork in communities near the tropical peat-swamp forest of Sebangau in Central Kalimantan Province in 2009, the paper addresses how the people affected explain, perceive, mitigate, and cope with fires in their environment. On what premise is their perception of fire built? What ‘local knowledge’ has been acquired to manage the fire risk? How are these strategies embedded in the regulatory adat (customary law) framework? And what con¬straints do people face in their mitigating and coping practices?