Sociopolitical and economic factors have driven and heightened the occurrence of vegetation fires (Purnomo et al. 2017, 2019), particularly in regions where peatlands have become degraded. Fires emit large volumes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, cause significant economic losses, and have detrimental effects on health and other sectors.
From 2018 to 2020, with support from Temasek Foundation (TF) and Singapore Cooperation Enterprise (SCE), CIFOR and the University of Riau (UNRI) facilitated the development of a model for community-based fire prevention and peatland restoration in Dompas village, Bengkalis District, Riau Province. The project was the first phase of a larger programme aimed at achieving the long-term goals of forest and peatland restoration by changing community behaviour to avoid the use of fire for land preparation, without reducing agricultural production and earnings (see Phase 1 here).
The participatory action research (PAR) model has showed early successes in Dompas village, where communities were equipped with improved knowledge, techniques, managerial skills and networks, following which, communities became the drivers of further action. Seeing these successes, the Siak District Government invited CIFOR and partners to scale up their community-based fire prevention and peatland restoration work. During a number of discussions, CIFOR and partners strategized how to pilot the PAR approach in Siak District to contribute towards the Green Siak Initiative. There are opportunities to scale the model up to the whole of Riau Province as part of a commitment to the 2019–2024 Riau Hijau or Green Riau programme.