Jan 22, 2019 | Updated: 06:36 PM EST

Wildfires In Borneo Recurs Frequently During Drought, Experts Blame Human Causes Of Fire Too

May 08, 2017 02:56 AM EDT


The wildfires in Borneo is ten times likely to recur during drought years as opposed to non-drought. An international research suggests that the wildfires are greatly impacting Borneo's biodiversity and contributes a significant level of CO2 emissions. These combined problems are also affecting the regional climate and atmospheric composition.

The joint study about Borneo wildfires was conducted by top researchers from the Center for International Forestry Research, Indonesia's Bogor Agricultural University, University of East Anglia, and Wageningen University. Their finding suggests that the drying and drought trend in Borneo since the last century is greatly contributing to the recurrence of wildfires. There is a drought in the groundwater as well since Borneo manifested a spatial pattern of water loss.

The researchers plot the Global Fire Emission Dataset since 1996 and discovered that Borneo has wildfires that recur annually. While fires happen even in non-drought years, these were amplified during drought years, according to Science Daily. There are very large wildfires that cover an average of 10,000 hectares as well.

One potential benefit of this research is the added accuracy of predicting as to when the wildfires are going to recur in Borneo. Currently, predictions are based mainly on climate information. These include precipitation, El Niño phenomenon, and ENSO strength. By adding the hydrological factor, the researchers are hoping that they can predict wildfires better. In turn, this can lead to a better response.

Meanwhile, NASA's Earth Observatory laments that the wildfires in Borneo are also affecting air and ship transportation. The cloud of haze is combining with clouds and reducing visibility. Further, Borneo wildfires are affecting the global climate due to the pollution particles that they discharge in the atmosphere.

Most of the fires in Borneo are lasting for weeks once it started. The authorities also traced that a significant number of these fires were caused by deliberate burning done by farmers. Both large and small-scale farming and clearing are doing the traditional practice of slash and burn deforestation.

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