Fixing flammable Forest: The scalar politics of peatland governance and restoration in Indonesia

Rini Astuti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Peatland fires and the impact of transboundary haze are often intertwined with socio-environmental externalities of neoliberal forest governance and overlapping systems of resource property rights in Indonesia. New peatland governance strategies are emerging to address fires and haze by reorganising peatland management using a more ecologically relevant scale that territorialises peatland according to its hydrological characteristics. Employing the concept of the eco-scalar fix, this paper interrogates rescaling peatland governance as a strategy to address the socio-ecological crisis associated with the conversion of peatland into mono-agricultural land. However, rescaling peatland governance entails the risk of merely displacing socio-environmental crises to areas considered less ecologically important rather than addressing them. Drawing on a case study of a peatland restoration in Riau, Indonesia, this paper shows how emerging hybrid forms of peatland governance can address the environmental externalities that have unintentionally been created. This hybrid form of peatland governance has pressured actors across multiple types of property to rework the ways that environmental commons are controlled and accessed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-300
Number of pages18
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


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