The practice of clearing peatlands is damaging to the environment, as it destroys biodiversity and reduces land productivity. It also hurts livelihoods that have traditionally depended on non-timber forest products and freshwater fisheries.
Despite these consequences, many people still see fire as a powerful and cheap way to clear land. Farmers would also prefer to burn their lands because the ash may reduce soil acidity and serve as a source of fertilizer. In the past, clearing lands with fire was done at a small scale and in a controlled manner, limited only to individual farms. However, there are increasingly larger-scale fires which usually start by accident and spread to nearby areas.
Tane Pambelom was a burned area that previously belonged to the local community. It was later taken over and managed by Bapak Janu Minro, who has made extensive efforts to prevent forest fires from recurring in the area from 1998. Some of the fire prevention measures include:
- Canal construction to prevent the spread of fire
- Provision of portable fire pumps.
- Formation of the Firefighting Team with resident local members
- Construction of artesian wells
- Drilling wells