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The Indonesian forest fires

The Institute for Prospective Studies (IPTS) has published a short assessment of the impact of the Indonesian forest fires, which have had serious environmental effects on the South-East Asian region in 1997 and early 1998. The fires have mostly been deliberately started, wit...

The Institute for Prospective Studies (IPTS) has published a short assessment of the impact of the Indonesian forest fires, which have had serious environmental effects on the South-East Asian region in 1997 and early 1998. The fires have mostly been deliberately started, with the aim of clearing land for commercial forestry production. Forestry has been the major industry in the region, and although it is now stagnating, it still accounts for about 10% of Indonesia's GDP. The forest burning in Indonesia has led to serious atmospheric pollution in large parts of South-East Asia. Visibility was dramatically reduced during a prolonged period due to the photochemical smog in the region, and the health of employees in both forestry and other industries affected. The IPTS paper looks at the economic impact of the burning, and tries to draw lessons from the crisis. It questions the appropriateness of this method of land clearance, and argues that it has a negative impact on industry, not least the forestry industry itself - the very reason behind the burning.

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