Dauvergne, Peter. 1998. "The political economy of Indonesia's 1997 forest fires." Australian Journal of International Affairs no. 52 (1):13-17. doi: 10.1080/10357719808445234.
Abstract:In 1997 terrible forest fires swept Indonesia. What caused these fires? President Suharto called them 'a natural disaster', primarily triggered by the drought and irresponsible indigenous 'slash-and-burn' farmers. Yet these fires were certainly not 'natural'. They were, instead, a disaster that arose naturally from the political economy of Indonesian forest mismanagement. Decades of reckless logging have left wide areas degraded and highly susceptible to fires. To 'reforest' these areas, companies lit most of the fires to clear land and establish palm oil, and to a lesser extent, rubber and industrial wood plantations. Government policies and international markets provided incentives for these companies. Corruption assisted and protected them. And indifference, low state capacity, inconsistent and weak responses, and a dry El Nino year fuelled these fires