Guest blog by Daniel Gavin
Just a month after receiving my undergraduate degree I took a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to the Borneo rain forest as a research assistant in Gunung Palung National Park. For over a year I helped run Cabang Panti field station, traveled its many kilometers of trails, and helped the core data collection that streamed in from our dedicated staff, about fruiting patterns, animal censuses, and the dynamics of the trees and seedlings. The astounding biodiversity spread across seven distinct landforms and forest types meant “discoveries”, at least to this neophyte, every day.
This year’s extremely dry September has caused smog-belching fires throughout Indonesia, and has left a blanket of smoke covering Sukadana’s lush forest.
Fires are an annual problem during the dry season in Indonesia due to the slash-and-burn land clearing practices of farmers and palm oil plantations. This year, the burning has been more extreme due to an El Niño weather system that produces tinder-dry conditions.