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Indonesia's Fires and Haze: The Cost of Catastrophe (with a 2006 update)

David Glover and Timothy Jessup

Available formats

From September to November of 1997, raging fires in Indonesia pumped enough smoke into the air to blanket the entire region in haze, reaching as far north as southern Thailand and the Philippines, with Malaysia and Singapore being particularly affected. An area the size of Costa Rica was completely devastated. The lives and health of 70 million people were jeopardized and species already endangered, such as orangutans, rhinos, and tigers, were pushed closer to extinction. The fires — deliberately set for the most part — were certainly one of the century's worst environmental disasters.

This book conservatively assesses the damage at US $4.5 billion, more than the Exxon Valdez oil spill and India's Bhopal chemical spill combined. It looks at the causes of the fires, the physical damages that resulted, and their effects on health, industrial production, and tourism, among others. It explains the methods used to assign a monetary value to the damages and recommends measures that must be taken to prevent a recurrence of this horrific event.

Indonesia's Fires and Haze will interest researchers, academics, teachers, and students in economics, environmental sciences, development studies, and Asian studies; policymakers, government officials, and bureaucrats, particularly in Asia, but also in Asian bureaus and international organizations operating in Southeast Asia; development professionals working in the areas of economics and the environment; and donor organizations and NGOs active in Southeast Asia, particularly in environmental issues.

The editors

David Glover is founding director of EEPSEA, the Economy and Environment Program for Southeast Asia. From 1984 to 1992, Dr Glover was director of IDRC's Economic Policy Program. He is the author of numerous books and articles on trade and the environment, structural adjustment, and agricultural policy.

Timothy Jessup currently directs one of WWF's three bioregional programs in Indonesia, where he has worked since 1990. Before joining WWF, Dr Jessup was a field investigator with a UNESCO Man and Biosphere project on people-forest interactions in East Kalimantan, where he survived the great fires of 1982 and 1993.