Land/Forest Fire in the Perspective of Catastrophic Criminology


In 2015, Indonesia had to face the land and forest fires once again. It comes as a concern that the land and forest fires happens nearly every year. Various policies have been implemented to prevent fires recurrence and seemed not to be effective at all. The question that comes along is why the fire is always happening? Some research have taken place to answer the question. Including a research which the authors have done in 2016 with the support from Thailand Research Fund. With Riau Province as the case study, the authors concluded the factors which caused the land and forest fires could be divided into structural, cultural, and natural factor. Structural factor is related with the lack of policy from central government and local government in the natural resources management. Decentralization post-reformation is considered contributing in the complexity of this issue, although it does not mean that central government is fully innocent. Historically, a few issues in natural resources management could not be separated with the state policies in the New Order regime. The land and forest ownership for pulp and paper industry also for palm oil plantation is considered as one of the most troubled policies. Cultural factor is related to the daily practice within the communities, where they use the hereditary conventional technology for land clearing that will be used for agriculture and plantation purpose by using fire. However, one thing to be cleared, local communities have discernment in land clearing using fire management from generation to generation. The issues only occur when conventional technology is used by certain parties for the sake of large capital owners in pulp and paper industry also palm oil plantation. Meanwhile the natural factor has more to do with the land condition in Riau province that has peat characteristics. The ’el nino’ phenomenon makes peatland even more flammable. One thing that will differentiate this research with some others have done is the perspective used in the analysis. The development of contemporary criminology thoughts sees environmental degradation, including land/forest fire, as a catastrophic phenomenon caused by chaotic factors. This factor spreads in social practices at the micro level to the macro-level policies.



Keywords: Land/forest fire, catastrophic criminology, chaotic factors, riau

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