Indonesia's Fires and Haze: The Cost of Catastrophe

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IDRC, Jan 1, 2006 - Business & Economics - 170 pages
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From September to November of 1997, raging fires in Indonesia pumped enough smoke into the air to blanket the entire region in haze, reaching as far north as southern Thailand and the Philippines, with Malaysia and Singapore being particularly affected. This book conservatively assesses the damage at US $4.5 billion, more than the Exxon Valdez oil spill and India's Bhopal chemical spill combined. It looks at the causes of the fires, the physical damages that resulted, and their effects on heath, industrial production, and tourism, among others.

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Page 6 - The 1990s has seen the rise of tree plantations as the most powerful force behind the conversion of forest lands in [the Indonesian islands of] Sumatra and Kalimantan. The government supported the development of pulp wood and palm oil plantations, using incentives such as free land, subsidised capital, and free use of standing timber. Rising domestic and international demand for palm oil, pulp, and paper . . . has given additional impetus to the growth of these industries' (Schweithelm and Glover...
Page 83 - Significant aggravation of symptoms and decreased exercise tolerance in persons with heart or lung disease, with widespread symptoms in the healthy population.
Page 83 - Elderly and persons with existing diseases should stay indoors and avoid physical exertion. General population should avoid outdoor activity. Elderly and persons with existing heart or lung disease should stay indoors and reduce physical activity. Persons with existing heart or respiratory ailments should reduce physical exertion and outdoor activity.
Page xix - Art at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and Senior Associate at the Sainsbury Institute for the Study of Japanese Arts and Cultures.
Page 107 - As erosion involves changes in the availability and relative concentration of nutrients for plant growth, and changes in soil structure, soil erosion will influence root growth and affect the availability of water. In some soils, farmers can improve the yields and compensate for the effects of erosion with fertilizers. This is most frequently the case on deep topsoils where erosion has depleted soil nutrients.
Page 83 - All persons should remain indoors, keeping windows and doors closed. All persons should minimize physical exertion and avoid traffic.
Page 112 - Policy and the Misuse of Forest Resources Edited by ROBERT REPETTO and MALCOLM GILLIS...
Page 52 - PSI converts the measured pollutant concentration in a community's air to a number on a scale of 0 to 500, the standards corresponding to 100 on the scale.
Page 106 - ... world are scant. Even in some developed countries, such studies are based on experimental plots or field stations and dominated by agronomists or soil scientists. The fundamental difficulty is in generalizing the relationship between soil erosion and crop productivity because of the location specific nature of soil erosion. The scale and heterogeneity of studies of the erosion-productivity relationship vary greatly. The range includes highly technical studies of physical processes of erosion...
Page 12 - ... burned in early 1998. It should be recalled that some of the costs were tangible and immediate, including the loss in September 1997 of an Indonesian airliner with 234 passengers and crew, in conditions of low visibility due to the haze. An estimate calculated at the end of 1998 suggested that Sarawak Sensing of the 1997-98 Fires in Indonesia: Data, Methods, and Future Perspectives', available from the WWF, Indonesia site, <> (accessed 22 December 1998). EEPSEA/WWF,...

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About the author (2006)

Timothy Jessup currently directs one of WWF's three bioregional programs in Indonesia, where he has worked since 1990.

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