The following is the established format for referencing this article:Ramdani, R., and I. Mustalahti. 2023. Collaborative everyday adaptation to deal with peatland fires: a case study on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia. Ecology and Society 28(3):12.
Actors across multiple levels, such as the private sector, national and subnational government institutions, and local communities, are expected to have the capacity to adapt to climate impacts and risks. This study analyzes how collaborative governance has been developed and carried out by multiple actors in everyday life to adapt to peatland fires in a situation where climate change variability drives fire occurrences. The case study research was undertaken on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, where the challenge of annual peatland fires has increased in the last 15 years. The qualitative data were collected through participatory observations, face-to-face interviews with 35 key informants, and document analysis conducted in 2020. The research finding shows that structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing are essential dimensions in generating collaborative governance to adapt to peatland fires. Multiple actors in the community case study applied collaborative activities during the three adaptation stages: (1) anticipatory measures, (2) preparedness, and (3) responses through constructing canal blocks, conducting fire patrols, and fighting fires. Those collaborative activities are performed in everyday life and have reduced the potential occurrence of fires and the vulnerability of villagers to peatland fires. The study also highlights the effects of domination when powerful actors are unwilling to collaborate meaningfully with local actors, who sometimes share different interests and hierarchical positions.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2022) has reported that the current general warming trend is 0.13 °C per decade, and the global net anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) are at the highest level in human history (Dessler 2021). Local communities throughout the globe face challenges in dealing with the impacts of climate change, yet the existing research has shown how they have practiced adaptation in everyday life. For example, everyday adaptation practices include planting different crops that adapt to droughts and developing settlements around higher elevation areas to secure houses from floods induced by climate change (Artur and Hilhorst 2012, Bele et al. 2014). We are currently in a situation in which people frequently face unpredictable and extreme weather (Dessler 2021); therefore, actors across multiple levels, such as private sectors, government institutions, and local communities, collaborate to adapt to climate change impacts (Johnson et al. 2020, Cuni-Sanchez et al. 2022). Research on everyday adaptation and collaborative governance has also gained increasing attention from scholars (see Brink and Wamsler 2018, Funder and Mweemba 2019).
The research related to collaborative governance pays particular attention to public involvement as a way to move from top-down arrangements toward responsive participation by multiple actors in climate change adaptation strategies and various interventions (Brink and Wamsler 2018, Hamilton and Lubell 2018). Scholars have recognized collaborative governance as one strategy to support adaptation governance and interventions in the climate concern era (Baird et al. 2016, Kvamsås et al. 2021). For example, Kalesnikaite (2019) and Morris (2020) have found that the collaborative governance approach has allowed government institutions, researchers, practitioners, and community groups to initiate risk assessment, generate resource sharing, and facilitate social learning to adapt to climate change.
We have drawn upon an Indonesian case study from a village on the east coast of Sumatra in this article as we seek to understand how multiple actors in the case study community have used collaborative governance to adapt to peatland fires. In the community case study, multiple actors have worked together by constructing canal blocks, conducting fire patrols, and fighting fires in a situation where climate change variability drives fire occurrences. The existing research has shown that fire occurrences in Sumatra are related not only to factors such as the traditional practices of land clearing (Goldstein et al. 2020) but also to climate stress variables such as temperature increases and rainfall decreases (Herawati and Santoso 2011). Moreover, Susilo et al. (2013) claim that the dry season in Indonesia is becoming longer because of the extreme weather anomaly of El Niño. Edwards et al.’s (2020) study shows that El Niño events correlate with the year-on-year variation of the fires in Indonesia.
Our study highlights what the capacity dimensions are that multiple actors utilize to generate collaborative governance to adapt to peatland fires and how they carry out collaborative governance in everyday life. The collaborative governance framework by Emerson and Gerlak (2014:1) has four capacity dimensions that actors may use for collaboration: (1) structural arrangements, (2) leadership, (3) knowledge and learning, and (4) resource sharing. We study three of those dimensions in the Indonesian context—(1) structural arrangements, (2) knowledge and learning, and (3) resource sharing—as the adaptive capacities that multiple actors can use in their everyday activities to adapt to climate change through collaborative governance (see Fig. 1). We analyze how the three capacity dimensions have been applied in the three adaptation stages (based on Feenstra et al. 1998)—(1) anticipatory measures, (2) preparedness, and (3) response—that reflect the practices of everyday adaptation before and during the exposure to climate change impacts.
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK OF COLLABORATIVE GOVERNANCE AND EVERYDAY ADAPTATION
According to Emerson et al. (2012:2), collaborative governance refers to “the processes and structures of decision-making and management that engage people constructively across the boundaries of public agencies, levels of government, and/or the public, private and civic spheres in order to carry out a common purpose.” Emerson and Gerlak (2014) highlight four capacity dimensions, namely structural arrangements, leadership, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing that are used to carry out collaborative governance. We focus on only three out of these four capacity dimensions, although we agree with Emerson and Gerlak (2014) that formal and informal leadership plays an important role in collaborative governance. However, we had limited possibilities and time in the Indonesian context to observe further how the formal leadership of government institutions functions in supporting collaborative activities.
We understand adaptability in connection to climate change adaptation as the ability of societies to reduce the potential harm from climate change (IPCC 2001). We also understand adaptation as a process of change in anticipation of or reaction to external stimuli and stress (Nelson et al. 2017). Structural arrangements refer in this study to inclusive and deliberative decision making and management processes in which different actors voluntarily engage and work together (Emerson et al. 2012). Inclusion and deliberation are crucial for letting people participate in and accommodate multiple perspectives and different interests for making thoughtful decisions (Emerson and Gerlak 2014). They are also a mechanism to build an adaptive capacity to the changing situation (Johnson et al. 2020). For example, the existing research has found that proactive engagement in climate risk assessment can reduce the adaptation burden, while deliberation generates diverse knowledge to support social learning (Emerson and Gerlak 2014, Brink and Wamsler 2018). However, scholars have raised a concern about the potential domination of some parties in the decision-making processes who have different sources of power, such as authority and financial resources (Purdy 2012, Choi and Robertson 2014a). For example, Arai et al. (2021) have found that government institutions tend to control decisions, while local communities are often ignored. Nevertheless, this power imbalance can be reduced by creating a decision rule that gives all actors an equal opportunity to influence decisions and by allocating sufficient time that provides all actors an opportunity to present their perspectives (Choi and Robertson 2014b).
Knowledge and learning are processes that occur when multiple actors with different expertise and experience share information and learn through social interactions (Emerson et al. 2012). Realizing collaborative governance means managing the inclusion of different actors to share their knowledge and learn together (Buuren 2009). According to Emerson and Gerlak (2014), social learning occurs when multiple actors can formulate the input from knowledge sharing to improve their understanding of a system’s behavior. The learning processes can be carried out through formal and informal mechanisms, such as training, workshops, dialogues, and interactions (Sellmann and Bogner 2013). Tran (2020) argues that, in the context of adaptation, knowledge and learning are key forms of adaptation that enable people to bring together pools of adaptive knowledge to resolve the shared problem. For example, social learning in Vietnam has allowed the local community, particularly farmers, to exchange knowledge on farming activities to adapt to climate change (Tran 2020).
Resource sharing in collaborative governance is the capacity of multiple parties to share funding, technical and administrative support, human resources, and legitimacy (Emerson et al. 2012). Emerson and Gerlak (2014) argue that building collaborative governance requires resource sharing. No single actor has adequate resources to tackle a wicked problem such as climate change unilaterally; individual actors depend on each other to implement their efforts and for support (Raitio and Saarikoski 2012). Scott and Thomas (2017) have found that state and non-state actors are motivated to collaborate in taking advantage of the unique distribution of resources in different organizations, yet collaborative governance not only distributes but also mobilizes resources (Thomson and Perry 2006). Emerson and Gerlak (2014) argue that resource sharing, in the context of adaptation, is crucial for enabling the capacity to design and implement adaptation strategies. For example, Owen (2020) has found that effective adaptation is dependent on collective decision making, mutually beneficial outcomes, and resource sharing.
Our study’s particular interest is in how multiple actors apply these capacity dimensions to generate collaborative governance in everyday adaptations to climate change. According to Castro and Sen (2002), everyday adaptation is incremental changes made in people’s daily lives to accommodate the shifting ecologies in which they live. For example, because of the drought, people in Sundarbans villages in India changed their ways of working while families restructured their member’s daily tasks to adapt to the changing situation (Castro and Sen 2022). A pastoralist community in southern Ethiopia changes their everyday herding practices by utilizing a sedentarization strategy to adapt to the droughts in the grazing areas that are induced by climate change (Wang et al. 2022). A similar finding was reported in Kenya and Uganda, where coffee farmers change planting dates to adapt to changing rainfall patterns (Cuni-Sanchez et al. 2022).
Likewise, everyday adaptation is about a specific kind of action that is performed routinely (Johansson and Vinthagen 2016). Brugger and Crimmins (2013:1831) call this routine action “living with climate change,” when people respond to the changing climate in their daily lives. The adaptive action is practiced in a continuation of people’s normal behavior in which its success and failure depend on an institution’s flexibility to adapt to the changing situation (Artur and Hilhorst 2012). For example, Funder and Mweemba (2019) have found that local administrators in Zambia informally delegate the implementation of climate adaptation policy to the local community because of the limited resources. Informal interaction at the grassroots level in Vietnam provides a flexible platform to open communication and knowledge exchange among different actors, whereas top-down bureaucratic intervention creates constraints in adaptation to floods (Tran and Rodela 2019).
Based on Feenstra et al. (1998), we also develop our understanding of adaptation practices in three stages, namely, (1) anticipatory measures, (2) preparedness, and (3) response. Anticipatory measures in this study refers to activities whose intention is to mitigate the risks of climate impact (Smith 1997). Preparedness reflects the measures taken in advance to reduce climate change impacts (see, for example, Keim 2008, Kox et al. 2018), and the response represents the reactions of multiple actors to climate impacts such as extreme weather or tornadoes (Rawls and Turnquist 2010). These three adaptation stages reflect everyday adaptation before and during exposure to climate stimuli (Feenstra et al. 1998). For example, the construction of canal blocks in our case study can be considered anticipatory measures to mitigate peatland fires. Fire patrols are preventive actions that aim to reduce the occurrence of peatland fires. Firefighting is also a reaction to extinguish the fire.
CONTEXT OF THE RESEARCH SITE
Indonesia has the largest area of tropical peatland in the globe, with about 21 million hectares (Mha; Page et al. 2011). However, nearly 35% of Indonesian forest fires occurred in peatland areas, for example, in 2014, 2015, and 2019, when 5.2 Mha of forest and land were burned (MoEF 2020). Lohberger et al. (2018) found that the Indonesia peatland fire event of 2015 emitted 0.89 Gt of CO2. The economic loss from the 2015 fires was around US$16.1 billion, equivalent to 1.9% of the 2015 Indonesian Gross Domestic Product (GDP; World Bank 2015). The smoke from the fire directly passed to neighboring countries, mainly Malaysia and Singapore, causing respiratory infections such as coughs and difficulty breathing (Frankenberg et al. 2005). Peatland fires in Indonesia are closely related to the climate change stress variables. The peatland in Indonesia has become drier and lost its moisture because of the drop in rainfall (Edwards et al. 2020). According to Gaveau et al. (2014), the 2013 Indonesian fires occurred after a two-month dry period in a wetter-than-average year. Field et al. (2016) also found that the Indonesian mega-fire event of 2015 occurred because of the drought condition during El Niño.
In this study, we focused on a village located in the district of Bengkalis, Riau province, situated on the east coast of Sumatra, Indonesia (see Fig. 2). The village’s jurisdictional land area was about 27,000 ha, and all areas were tropical peatlands. Despite settlement and agriculture fields, most of the village area is state-production forests utilized by a timber company (about 12,930 ha) and for agroforestry crops, mainly oil palm, owned by local people and trans-local owners (about 13,000 ha). The village was inhabited by 595 families, of which 456 of them utilized between two and five hectares of oil palm plantation. Another six families occupied between 10 to 100 hectares of oil palm, but three trans-local owners utilized more than 250 hectares of the plantation (Village Office 2019). Trans-local owners in the Indonesian context refers to people who come from outside the village, particularly from cities, who utilize a more extensive oil palm plantation than the typical plantation area of villagers (see Purnomo et al. 2019).
About 90% of the village areas were natural peat swamp forests before 2000. However, heavy illegal logging occurred in forested regions in Sumatra during the 2000s (McCarthy 2002). Forest decentralization through the transfer of authority and fiscal resources from the central government to local governments was not followed by an accountability mechanism during this period. The local government had less environmental awareness to boost the local income revenue (Resosudarmo 2004). Because of the economic crisis, local communities in the community case study illegally cut down the natural trees, while the timber company expanded its logging activities outside its concession (Purnomo et al. 2019). The timber company had dug thousands of ditches inside its concession to manage the water table and had also created primary canals (25 meters wide) connecting two big rivers to transport their logs. The villagers dug tens of secondary canals (five and seven meters wide) in their community area to drain the peatland to plant oil palm trees. They were also using the canals to transport illegally felled timber to the Malacca Strait.
Our study focuses on this area because the local community in the village has faced the challenge of annual peatland fires for the last 15 years. The data have shown that the village was one of the most vulnerable areas to fires in Riau province and Indonesia (DFS 2016). About 2000 hectares of peatlands were burned in the village area between 2012 and 2015 (FCC 2020). The village was subjected to climate change variability, such as the temperature increase and rainfall decrease that resulted in the dry condition of the peatlands (Herawati and Santoso 2011). The village also experienced a mega-fire in which more than 1000 hectares of the area were burned during the 2014 mega-fire and 2015 El Niño events (Tempo 2014). The fires in the village were also related to a conflict about peatland water sharing between the timber company and the villagers. The timber company withheld the water during the dry season to maintain the water table in their concession, resulting in more drought conditions to the peatland in the village areas (Ramdani and Purnomo 2022).
However, the number of hotspots in the village decreased after 2015. For example, less than 30 hectares of the village area were burned between 2016 and 2020 (MoEF 2022). Many parts of Sumatra experienced a mega-fire during the 2019 El Niño event in which, in Riau alone, 90,550 hectares of forests and lands were burned (MoEF 2022), but only one hectare of peatland was burned in the village that year (FCC 2020). We found that multiple actors have been able to carry out collaborative activities in the anticipatory measures, preparedness, and response stages to adapt to peatland fires. We are interested in learning from this community case study, where the previous research has shown the defects of collaborative governance in dealing with forest fires in Indonesia due to the centralization of power (Purnomo et al. 2021). This case study community has the attention of researchers and donors compared to other villages in Riau Province because many actors come to the village, and the villagers are also actively involved in the collaborative activities.
This research applied the case study method, which is “an empirical method that investigates a contemporary phenomenon (the “case”) in depth and within its real-world context” (Yin 2018:30). The contemporary phenomenon, in this case, refers to the peatland fires in a village that was, among other factors, affected by climate change variability. According to Stake (2005), focusing on a single case study method allows researchers to investigate the phenomenon profoundly. However, our findings do not mean to represent the general situation in Indonesia because this research is based on a single case study village. Data from this research were based on two periods of fieldwork study conducted in 2016–2018 and in early 2020. The first author collected the data during the fieldwork through (1) participatory observation, (2) face-to-face interviews with the key informants, and (3) relevant document analysis (such as documents related to the village profile and government regulations). Such methods are suitable for studying an issue within a real-life context because the method allows researchers to gain detailed information from a group of communities in a specific area observed as a case study (Yin 2018). These qualitative data collection methods were also applied in different research contexts, for example, to analyze management tools in relation to uncertainties in environmental governance (Ulibarri 2019).
The first period of fieldwork study was conducted in 2016–2018, when the first author was involved in a research project on forest fire mitigation in Sumatra (see Purnomo et al. 2019). The first author visited the village three times during this fieldwork, spending two days on every visit for observations and interviews. The observations were conducted to observe six burned areas after the 2015 El Niño event, the dry conditions of the peatland, and the distribution of the first two canal blocks constructed in the village. The interviews were conducted with the head of the village office, the head of the subdistrict office, a district firefighter, the head of the Peatland Care Community (PCC) and its two members, and a villager. Those people were chosen for the interview because they knew what was happening with peatland fires in the village. The interviews focused on the drivers of peatland fires, the drought conditions of peatland, the risks of the fires to the villagers’ everyday lives, and the activities the villagers performed to deal with peatland fires. The snowball-sampling method, in which the previous informant pointed out the next informant, was applied to meet with those informants. For example, interviews could start with the leadership (Egunyu and Reed 2015). In our case, the interview was started with the head of the village office.
It was found from the data collected during the first period of fieldwork that villagers were vulnerable to peatland fires, yet there was a progressive development of collaborative activities to deal with the fires. We were interested in learning from the village how multiple actors performed collaborative activities to adapt to the peatland fires in their everyday lives. The first author then conducted the second period of fieldwork study between January and March 2020 by visiting the village three times (spending two weeks for every visit). The first author conducted participatory observation during this stage to understand (1) the collaborative activities in the anticipatory measure, preparedness, and response stages, (2) the capacity dimensions utilized, such as structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing, and (3) the top-down relationships, particularly between the subdistrict army and police stations with other actors. For example, the first author participated in a two-day workshop for a two-year canal block evaluation, joined a one-day fire patrol together with Fire Care Community (FCC) members, the timber company’s firefighter squad, and two armies from the subdistrict station, and participated in a two-day firefighting activity on a large-scale oil palm plantation (Appendix 1). All these activities were recorded in the fieldwork diary notes.
The first author also conducted face-to-face interviews with 35 key informants (Table 1) to obtain detailed insights, crosscheck the information, and permit in-depth analysis. Key informants refer to the leaders or members of organizations at the community level, government institutions, environmental non-government organizations (ENGOs), corporations, and donors involved in the day-to-day collaborative activities at the anticipatory measures, preparedness, and response stages (Table 1). We also paid attention to other key informants, such as villagers and oil palm farmers because they had experienced fire events and benefited from collaborative activities (Table 1). The purposive sampling method was chosen to meet with the informants because the researcher already knew informants who would be expected to have experienced collaborative activities in the village (Creswell and Poth 2016). Every interview took around 1.5 hours, using Bahasa Indonesia, the official language in the country used by the first author and the informants to obtain detailed and in-depth information. Although the first author did not engage in the community case study as a participant, his positionality, shaped by his experiences, social position, and power as a researcher, might impact his research perspective and reflections. Because of that, the co-author helped him to analyze, reflect, and write from the collected interview material. To mitigate potential biases, the first author informed the informants about his research background, the study objectives, the informants’ anonymity, and the shared data’s confidentiality. Semi-structured questions relating to capacity dimensions to generate collaborative governance were asked, namely, structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing. All interviews were recorded using a voice recorder and transcribed into written text.
The first author also collected documents related to the background information of the research and to the collaborative activities performed in the village during the second period of fieldwork study. For example, the first author collected documents related to the village profile from the village office. Documents of fire occurrences recorded in the village were collected from the FCC, subdistrict office, and district fire station, while the recapitulation of forest and land fires in Indonesia were collected from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoEF).
All the data were imported into NVivo 12 plus software for data analysis. NVivo is a set of tools that helps the researcher to analyze qualitative data (Edwards-Jones 2014). The imported data were classified in NVivo 12 plus based on diary notes, interview transcriptions, and document files. Next, every statement from the informants was coded in the node regarding the framework’s themes, namely, structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing. This part of the data analysis aimed to (1) explore collaborative governance in the anticipatory measure, preparedness, and response stages, (2) identify the structural arrangements relating to the actors' inclusive, voluntary, and deliberative engagement, and (3) analyze the knowledge sharing, social learning, and resource sharing processes.
We present how multiple actors in the community case study carried out collaborative activities in the anticipatory measures, preparedness, and response stages to adapt to peatland fires. Regarding the anticipatory measures stage, the local community, through a Peatland Care Community (PCC), has taken the initiative since 2013 to construct canal blocks in the village in collaboration with an international university from Japan. Canal blocks are a technology to stem water flow in the canals, which can automatically raise the water table in the surrounding peatland that is vulnerable to fires (Ritzema et al. 2014). The Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) project came to the village after the 2015 El Niño event and collaborated with the PCC to construct eight canal blocks. The construction of canal blocks (nine units) was continued in 2017 by collaboration between the local community and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia. Finally, from 2018 to 2020, the PCC worked with the Tropical Society Project (TPSP) to construct 13 other canal blocks.
The local community re-established a Fire Care Community (FCC) in early 2016. Its establishment was through an official decree from the village office following the wishes of villagers who realized the importance of a voluntary organization to conduct fire patrols based on their worst experience with the mega-fire of 2014 and the 2015 El Niño event. The FCC collaborated with the timber company’s firefighter squad for the preparedness stage by conducting the daily fire patrol to monitor fire occurrences around the community forestry areas because the village area was contiguous with the timber concession. The FCC also conducted joint fire patrols every four months with the subdistrict police and army station. Regarding the response stage, multiple actors from district and subdistrict levels and the timber company’s firefighter squad worked together with the FCC on firefighting activities. The FCC members also learned firefighting procedures and strategies from the timber company’s firefighter squad and during a simulation facilitated by the REDD+ facilitators.
Anticipatory measures: constructing canal blocks and sharing knowledge
Thirty-two canal blocks were constructed in the village by February 2020. The development process of those canal blocks occurred four times between 2013–2014, 2015–2016, 2017–2018, and 2018–2020. Those canal blocks are classified into three types: (1) multiple-sheet pile canal blocks (15 units), (2) soil bag canal blocks (8 units), and (3) concrete canal blocks (1 unit). Multiple-sheet pile canal block refers to a wooden dam made of logs stacked vertically with more than one arrangement in which the spaces between the logs are filled with soil bags. Soil bag canal block means inserting several bags packed with soil or sand into a canal in a specific vertical position to stop the flow of water and maintain the water level in the area. A concrete canal block is made of concrete constructed in the proper area in the canal to manage the water flow and maintain the specific water level in the area (IPRA 2017).
The PCC constructed the first two soil bag canal blocks between 2013 and 2014 (PCC 2020). The PCC’s establishment story goes back to 2009, when a biologist from a local university lived in the village and worked voluntarily with three villagers on peatland reforestation. The three villagers informally established the Peatland Care Community (PCC) facilitated by the biologist (Interview 10). The three-member PCC worked on planting the natural peatland trees in their five hectares field. However, the mega-fire burned their trees between 2011 and 2012, and only the PCC leader continued by replanting. An international university from Japan, assisted by the biologist, also conducted research in the 2.5-hectare natural peatland forest that remained and belonged to the head of the PCC (Interview 3a). The head of the PCC decided to construct two canal blocks around his forest field with the help of a shared budget from the international university. The head of the PCC, who built the canal blocks for the first time in the village, said the following:
Since my peatland field was dry and burnt several times, I asked them [the international university researchers] to help build a canal block. However, they just helped me with gunny sacks to fill with sand and a budget for the logs. I bought other materials and worked together with my son and another villager. Then we could see the water table in my field was increasing. We [the head of PCC and researchers] also discussed at my home many times about the canal block model and the dry condition of peatlands in our village (Head of PCC).
Between 2015 and 2016, nine new people joined the PCC when the REDD+ project came to the village. The FCC constructed five multiple-sheet pile canal blocks and three other soil bag canal blocks during this period, funded by Norway’s bilateral funding under the REDD+ (PCC 2020). The REDD+ project coordinator said they chose the village or the program because of the villagers’ vulnerability to fires (Interview 16). A research institute from the local university implemented the program in collaboration with local ENGOs. The REDD+ project provided all materials for the canal blocks and incentives for the PCC members working on the construction. The REDD+ project also hired experts to help the local community with the canal blocks’ distribution and model (Interview 3c).
WWF Indonesia, in collaboration with three local ENGOs, came to the village a year after the REDD+ project and worked with the FCC to create nine multiple-sheet pile canal blocks (PCC 2020). The WWF provided construction materials and daily incentives for the FCC members who performed the construction (Interview 13b). The village office meanwhile supported these activities, for example, to tackle the objection of a trans-local oil palm owner who felt that canal block construction could harm his oil palm plantation (Interview 1a). This argument differed from local oil palm owners’ perspectives, who felt that rewetting the peatland could help keep their plantation free from the fires (Interview 3a and 3b). The villagers generally welcomed new actors to collaborate because they felt that constructing canal blocks was beyond their financial ability. They also expected to learn about the model of the blocks from outside actors. For example, a smallholder oil palm farmer who was also a member of the PCC said,
Most people here do not understand how the canal blocks should be constructed. So, we [villagers] are happy if they [donors] come because we want to learn from them [experts hired by donors]. We also have no financial ability to construct the canal blocks from our own pockets. We spend our money on food and sending our children to schools. However, they [donors] help us with their programs. The canal blocks can make our plantations [oil palm in the peatland] wet. So, it is safe from fires. At this moment, the dry session in our village also becomes longer, like in 2015 and 2019 [El Niño events] (PCC member).
An international university from Japan, in collaboration with the local university and with the support of the Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency (IRPA), launched the Tropical Peatland Society Project (TPSP) by December 2017, under the sponsorship of the Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA). Three TPSP facilitators started living in the village in March 2018 for the canal block program (Interview 15c). Eight new members joined the PCC during this period, and all PCC members elected a new leader of the organization under their initiative (Interview 3b). TPSP also worked on conflict resolution by facilitating meetings between the villagers and the timber company (Interview 15a). The timber company finally agreed to share the water and work with the villagers to construct the canal blocks after lobbying by the TPSP researchers (Interview 11a). With TPSP’s financial support and the help of the timber company’s excavators, 17 members of the FCC and 20 members of the PCC worked together to construct nine multiple-sheet pile canal blocks, three soil bag canal blocks, and one concrete dam in the village area (Interview 3b). The PCC members were local villagers who had lived there for more than 15 years. Two of them worked as teachers at the elementary school, two others worked at the village office, and the rest were smallholder oil palm and natural rubber farmers (Interview 3b, 4a, and 15c).
We discovered at this stage how the collaborating actors had shared their knowledge and learned from the others. For example, TPSP researchers trained four young members of the PCC to calculate the water volume in the canals and measure the water table in the peatland areas (Interview 15c). The TPSP researchers and facilitators always paid attention to the PCC and FCC members’ knowledge, because both the PCC and FCC members had experience working with the REDD+ and WWF projects (Interview 15d). At the same time, the timber company engineers helped the TPSP researchers to plan how the canal blocks should be distributed around the village based on the Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping. The TPSP researchers, in turn, shared the village water table data with the timber company to evaluate whether water sharing had influenced the rewetting of degraded peatlands in the village (Interview 15b).
The construction of canal blocks had successfully rewetted most areas of degraded peatland in the village. The water level in the peatland had reached between -30 and -40 cm, which was considered a normal condition based on the criteria introduced by the IPRA (Interview 3d and 3e). Under the TPSP’s financial support and facilitation to access the seeds from the Department of Environment and Forestry of Riau Province, the PCC members also worked on reforesting their peatland areas. All PCC members had planted 8431 natural peatland tree seeds and 5950 fruit trees in a 20.4-hectare peatland area by February 2020 (TPSP 2020).
Preparedness: peatland fire monitoring as collaborative effort
Regarding preparedness, the village office officially reactivated the Fire Care Community (FCC) in early 2016 following the wishes of villagers who realized the importance of the FCC to conduct fire patrols because of their worst experience with the mega-fire of 2014 and the 2015 El Niño event (Interview 1a). One of the villagers also said that the FCC was needed because their local knowledge could not predict when the rainy season would start or finish and that the dry season was becoming increasingly longer from year to year (Interview 2a). The FCC’s establishment was previously under the timber company’s initiative (from 2009 to 2011), yet the organization was inactive because of limited company support (Interview 12). The 17 former FCC members voluntarily rejoined the organization, motivated to protect their village from fire risks, and deliberatively chose a new leader. Most FCC members were smallholder oil palm and natural rubber farmers, and five were freelance workers for oil palm landlords (Interview 4a).
Two PCC members conducted fire patrols daily around the village area by motorbike and reported the fire situation at the sites observed via the FCC’s WhatsApp group (Observation 6). They monitored water availability in canals and human-made ponds to anticipate whether fires may appear in that area (Observation 7). The village office decree has mandated since 2016 that large-scale oil palm owners had to build ponds of 25 square meters each on their plantation, and there were 20 human-made ponds scattered around the village areas until February 2020 (Interview 1a). Most fire accidents recorded in the village after 2015 were caused by human carelessness, so the FCC members always reminded farmers working in the fields not to use fire (Interview 4b). They also monitored and controlled the activities of hunters and anglers coming from outside the village if they used fire. For example, the head of the FCC said the following:
Two of us do the fire patrol every day. We warn oil palm farmers not to use fires to clear the bush and to be careful in using fires in cooking and throwing the cigarette butts in the forest. We also always pay attention to strangers coming from other villages. We talk to them not to use fire. They also must answer our questions about the purpose of their activities in the forest around our village. If they said to do fishing or hunting, usually they said so; I take a picture of their face and motorcycle number plate. I also tell them that if something happens here relating to fires, I will report you (Head of FCC).
The FCC members also conducted the patrols with the company’s firefighter squad because the village area was contiguous with the timber concession. Both units shared information about the fire situation while sharing their lunch-packed meals (Observation 8). According to the FCC leader, they learned to conduct the patrol and identify the emergence of fires during their training under the timber company’s firefighter squad (Interview 4b). It was observed how an FCC member identified the smoke smell from the woody dry peatland after a bit of rain at night (Observation 6). The FCC members regularly obtained information about hotspot conditions in the area from the district fire station. They also learned the patrol schedule system from the WWF activists when the WWF worked on the canal block program in the village (Interview 13c). Based on a deliberative discussion, they decided that every FCC member would be on fire patrol duty four times per month for eight hours a day on each occasion.
The village office allocated about 80 million IDR (US$5526) per year to be paid in three instalments for FCC activities (Interview 1a). The allocation was mainly for the FCC member incentives and patrol operations, such as motorcycle maintenance and gasoline. The interview data showed that the district’s regulation did not allow the village office to pay the FCC members’ salaries and required the villagers’ involvement in the FCC to be voluntary (Interview 1a). Based on the ministerial decree No. P. 32/2016, the FCC’s establishment is voluntary, and the responsibility of its establishment is under the forest management unit (KPH). Therefore, every FCC member received only about 250,000 IDR per month (US$17.26), with an additional reward of about 320,000 IDR (US$22.08) from the timber company (Interview 4b). However, the timber company would pay the incentive if there was no peatland fire case in the village during the three months of the patrol (Interview 11a).
The FCC also received other support, such as fire patrol equipment and funding from the MoEF, WWF, REDD+ project, and TPSP. For example, the two motorcycles used by the FCC for the daily patrol were donated by the MoEF’s forest ranger, while the uniform, safety shoes, and mobile phone were aid from the WWF and the REDD+ project (Interview 4b). The FCC constructed a fire control point in the village, with TPSP’s funding help, which members could use when on patrol duty to discuss and plan their work activities for patrolling (Interview 4d). Additionally, the FCC’s fire patrol activities were legitimized by the subdistrict police and army stations. Every four months, the FCC members, the timber company’s firefighter squad, and armies and police officers from the subdistrict stations conducted joint fire patrols in the village. This joint patrol was crucial for legitimizing the FCC’s activities, because there was resistance from trans-local oil palm owners who refused FCC members entrance to their areas. For example, an army member from the subdistrict station said the following:
I can say that canal blocks can rewet the peatland, but daily fire patrol is important to remind farmers not to use fires. The FCC members in this village are more active in conducting the patrol than in other villages. It is one reason why since 2016, this village has had fewer fire accidents. However, they [FCC] also need our support, like a joint patrol. Some oil palm trans-local owners will not allow the FCC members to enter their area. So, if we [army] go with them [FCC] in the joint patrol, the trans-local owners understand that the FCC patrol is legal and under the support of the subdistrict army and police stations (An army member).
Response: jointly fighting against the fires?
Regarding the response stage, the FCC was always ready for potential fire accidents because the villagers had learned that peatland fires could occur at any time. Based on their experience with the mega-fire in 2014 and the 2015 El Niño event, the villagers had learned that they could not just let the fires burn their forests and oil palm plantations. The fires had made the villagers vulnerable, particularly with asthma and difficulty breathing when they had to leave the village for shelter during the 2014 and 2015 fire events. However, extinguishing peatland fires was not an easy task. Peatland fires differed from surface and crown fires because the fire was spreading underground in the peatlands. The 17 members of the FCC could not handle the fire alone. They always needed to collaborate with other firefighter squads, such as the timber company’s firefighters, subdistrict and district firefighters, and army and police officers from the subdistrict stations. The FCC also had limited firefighting equipment, with only two water pumps and 500 meters of spray hoses. This equipment was insufficient, because the fire location could be far more than 100 meters from the canals and rivers where the water was available. For example, a villager who decided to voluntarily join the FCC said,
I want to cry to talk about the situation in 2014 and 2015. The worst one was in 2014. I was panic when I saw my two kids were hard to breathe. I also saw many elderlies had the same symptoms. We were evacuated to a shelter provided by the government. We cannot let the fires spread out, burning the peatland. We do not want the worst situation to happen again. However, we are only 17 members [the FCC] with two water pumps and 500 meters of spray hoses. Without the help of timber company’s firefighters and district firefighters, we could not extinguish the fire in two-hectare areas of peatlands like in 2018 because the fires in the peatland can be one meter deep (FCC member).
It was found during the March 2020 fire occurrences how multilevel actors, such as the subdistrict and district firefighters, armies and police officers from the subdistrict stations, and the timber company’s firefighters, collaborated to help the FCC members with the firefighting (Observation 13). The subdistrict army and police stations led all the firefighter squads. The current administrative regime of the Indonesian Government has pointed out that the president would replace the army and police commanders if peatland fires occurred in their territory (Cabinet Secretariat 2018). The subdistrict police and military commanders took this initiative very seriously for these reasons and shared the schedules of all the squads for the morning, afternoon, and night shifts. However, the commanders had little interest in listening to the knowledge of the timber company’s professional firefighters or sharing that knowledge with the FCC members (Observation 11). Most firefighter squads also worked during the day, and only the FCC members and timber company fire squad monitored the movement and direction of the fires at night.
It was found that the local government institutions had paid little attention to training the FCC members for firefighting. Therefore, the REDD+ project took the initiative to send the FCC members for training. Using the REDD+ funding, the FCC members were involved in a week of training at the Sumatra Forest Training Centre under the MoEF’s supervision (Interview 16). They learned leadership, line of march, and characteristics of peatland fires. The REDD+ facilitators also conducted a simulation in the village on fighting peatland fires and facilitated writing a fire management module for the FCC members (Interview 16). It was observed during the March 2020 fire occurrences that the timber company’s firefighters taught the FCC members how to spray water from the hose, block the underground fires, and make a fire-free circle around the flame. The learning process was conducted in an informal setting when they rested for coffee while firefighting (Observation 13).
The response to the peatland fires also required resource sharing, such as equipment, legitimacy, and incentives, among the collaborating actors. According to the head of the FCC, all actors in the fire fields usually used the timber company’s water pumps and spray hoses because their equipment was better quality than the others (Interview 4a). It was found during the fire occurrences that the timber company also sent two excavators to dig ditch circles to break the flame chain (Observation 13). The timber company actively participated in firefighting because they were responsible for ensuring that five kilometers outside its concession was free from the fires (Interview 11a). It was also observed that all the firefighter squads could take any action in the field, such as blocking the road access to the forest and blocking the water flow in the ditches to extinguish the fires, when the subdistrict army and police stations supported their legitimacy. Moreover, all firefighter squads received a reward for firefighting, yet the firefighting was only voluntary for FCC members. For example, one of the FCC members who is also a worker for an oil palm landlord said,
Previously , when WWF worked here [on canal blocking development], we got money from them if we were working to extinguish the fires. However, we got no money or incentives from the village office for firefighting. We also lose our fire patrol reward from the timber company. The authority [government] should look at us. We did not get money if we did not work for a day in a palm oil landlord, so we need incentives once we work in firefighting (FCC member).
Castro and Sen (2022) highlight that everyday adaptation is an incremental change in people’s daily lives to accommodate the shifting ecologies. We have also found in our community case study that villagers change their way of life to adapt to the peatland fires. The local community realizes, after their long experience of the mega-fires and particularly the 2015 El Niño event, that their village is at high risk of peatland fires because of the dry condition of the peatlands that is induced by climate change. Therefore, they have changed their way of life by establishing the PCC and the FCC to collaborate with other parties to adapt to the peatland fires. The PCC worked on anticipatory measures with donors, ENGOs, research institutes, government institutions, and corporations to construct the canal blocks. The FCC collaborates with the timber company’s firefighter squad to conduct fire patrols for preparedness. The FCC also works on firefighting activities in collaboration with district firefighters, the timber company’s firefighter squad, and the subdistrict army and police officers during the response stage.
Scholars argue that everyday adaptation is also about a specific action done routinely that is carried out in the continuation of people’s normal behavior (see Artur and Hilhorst 2012, Johansson and Vinthagen 2016). We found in the community case study how the collaborative activities of canal block construction, fire patrols, and firefighting activities are embedded in a continuation of the local community’s normal behavior. Regarding anticipatory measures, for example, the FCC has always paid attention to the need for canal block construction because they know that canal blocks are crucial for rewetting the degraded peatlands in the village. This finding differs from the other cases in Indonesia, where local communities objected to the canal block construction because it is perceived to inhibit their oil palm plantations (e.g., Ward et al. 2020, Merten et al. 2021). Regarding preparedness, the FCC and the timber company’s firefighter squad daily monitor the potential for fire occurrence in the village and in the activities of farmers and visitors who are using fire in the forest. Regarding response, the FCC and all firefighter squads are always ready to fight any potential fires in the village.
Other scholars claim that collaborative governance in dealing with peatland fires in Indonesia is best considered as an attempt at climate change mitigation because the fires produce a large amount of GHG emissions (Uda et al. 2020, Merten et al. 2021). In our case study, however, we argue that collaborative governance of canal block construction, fire patrol, and firefighting represent the practice of everyday adaptation because those activities can reduce not only the potential occurrence of fires but also the villagers’ vulnerability to peatland fires (see also Nelson et al. 2017). Less than 30 hectares of the village area were burned in the last five years compared to about 2000 hectares between 2012 and 2015. Only one hectare of peatland was burned in the village during the 2019 El Niño event when many parts of Sumatra were experiencing a mega-fire. The canal block construction for rewetting the degraded peatland has been able to mitigate the fire occurrences. The fire patrol has reduced the potential factors for fire accidents, while the firefighting activity can control the spreading of the fires that can lead to wildfires.
The research evidence from our case study has also shown that structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing, as introduced by Emerson and Gerlak (2014), are essential dimensions for generating collaborative governance to adapt to peatland fires. The inclusion of and deliberation about structural arrangements in both the anticipatory measures and preparedness stages have allowed different actors to influence decisions and work together. Social learning has been able to facilitate multiple actors with different expertise and experience to share their information and knowledge to create thoughtful decisions. Resource sharing has allowed actors with different resources to implement adaptation strategies for peatland fires. However, we also found in the response stage that because of power imbalances (see Purdy 2012, Choi and Robertson 2014a), particularly military power, the structural arrangement does not allow multiple actors to influence the decisions and share their knowledge. This power imbalance has led to domination in which the subdistrict military institutions take over the decision-making process in a top-down way. Based on Feenstra et al. (1998) and following Emerson and Gerlak (2014), we continue by critically discussing how those three capacity dimensions, (1) structural arrangements, (2) knowledge and learning, and (3) resource sharing, are carried out in the three stages of adaptation (1) anticipatory measures, (2) preparedness, and (3) response in the community case study.
Structural arrangements for decision-making dialogue while the top-down system still exists
Regarding anticipatory measures and preparedness, we find that the inclusion of and deliberation about structural arrangements allow multiple actors to voluntarily engage and work together on the canal block construction and fire patrols. Brink and Wamsler (2018) argue that voluntary and proactive engagement is fundamental to fostering collaborative governance to adapt to climate change-related impacts. WWF, REDD+ facilitators, TPSP, and IPRA voluntarily came to collaborate with the village in our case study because they feel its villagers are vulnerable to the fires. The timber company participates in the collaboration because they are responsible for ensuring five kilometers outside their concession is free from the fires. The PCC and FCC members are also voluntarily and actively involved in those collaborative activities because they feel there is a need for the canal block construction to rewet the degraded peatland and for the fire patrol to prevent and minimize the potential for fire occurrences in the village.
Studies by Emerson and Gerlak (2014) and Johnson et al. (2020) have found that inclusion and deliberation in the decision-making processes are crucial for accommodating multiple perspectives and supporting social learning in order to make thoughtful decisions. The decision-making process for anticipatory measures and preparedness in our case study has deliberatively proceeded based on dialogue and knowledge sharing among the collaborating actors. For example, the election of the PCC and FCC leaders was based on discussions among the members. Deciding on the model and the location of the canal blocks as an anticipatory measure was based on knowledge sharing among experts hired by donors such as the WWF, REDD+ project, TPSP, with the local community represented by the PCC and FCC. Regarding preparedness, the FCC members decided on the fire patrol schedule system based on their learning process with the WWF activists. The result is that multiple actors have been able to create thoughtful decisions on rewetting the degraded peatlands and conducting the fire patrol.
Regarding the response, however, every decision-making process is taken in a top-down way because of the military institutions’ involvement. Based on its military power, the commanders of the subdistrict army and police stations intervened in both the firefighting duty schedule and the strategy for fighting the fires. Choi and Robertson (2014b) argue that this power imbalance can be reduced by creating a decision rule and allocating sufficient time to allow all actors to present their perspectives. However, in our case study, there was no rule on the decision-making process, and people had to extinguish the peatland fires immediately. Arai et al. (2021) have also found in another case that government institutions in Indonesia tend to control the decisions while often ignoring the local communities. The military and police commanders in our case study ignored the voices of the FCC members and the district’s and timber company’s professional firefighter squads.
Knowledge sharing and social learning: sharing and domination?
According to Buuren (2009) and Emerson and Gerlak (2014), building collaborative governance means organizing the inclusion of actors with different experiences and expertise to share their knowledge and to learn together. The PCC members in our case study learned about the canal block model from experts hired by the REDD+ project and the WWF at the beginning of the program in the village. The PCC members later shared that experience with the TPSP researchers. The timber company shared the GIS information and (in return) received the water table data from the TPSP researchers. Regarding preparedness, the FCC members learned how to identify the fire occurrences from the timber company fire squad, and they regularly receive hotspot information from the district fire station. Based on the daily patrol, the FCC members reported the information about the fire situation in the village via the FCC’s WhatsApp group, which the representatives of the timber company and district fighters also joined as members.
Tran (2020) argues that learning is a key form of adaptation that enables a local community to bring together pools of adaptive knowledge to resolve a shared problem. We also found a similar situation in our case study village, where knowledge and learning have enabled multiple actors to adapt to peatland fires. Regarding anticipatory measures, sharing the expertise of the canal block model, information on GIS, and water volume data have enabled collaborating actors to design an appropriate canal block and plan the distribution of canal blocks in the village. Regarding preparedness, the learning process with the WWF activists has enabled the FCC to create the patrol system. Knowledge sharing between the timber company firefighter squad and the FCC members has enabled the FCC to identify the fire occurrences, while information sharing via the WhatsApp group has allowed multiple actors to understand real-time fire situations in the village.
Regarding the response stage, the learning process occurred when the FCC members were involved in a week of training and a simulation of fighting peatland fires facilitated by the REDD+ project. During the fire event observation, however, knowledge sharing occurred only between the FCC members and the timber company’s firefighters, for example, how to spray water from the hose, stop underground fires, and create a fire-free circle around the flame. There was little room to facilitate knowledge sharing and learning between other collaborating actors because of the military’s domination. Tran and Rodela (2019) found a similar situation in Vietnam, where bureaucratic intervention creates constraints on adaptation. The top-down interventions introduced by the Indonesian president regarding fire responses have also led to barriers in the local context in our case study, meaning that knowledge sharing cannot be effectively carried out during firefighting activity.
Resource sharing: no single actor has adequate resources
Building collaborative governance requires resource sharing because every party has unique resources (Emerson and Gerlak 2014, Scott and Thomas 2017). We also found in our case study that the resources are distributed among the collaborating actors. Looking at anticipatory measures, for example, donors such as the REDD+ project, WWF, and TPSP had financial resources; the village office was a legitimate institution at the local level; and the PCC provided workers for the construction of the canal blocks. Regarding preparedness, the FCC can mobilize its members, while donors and the subdistrict and police stations support and legitimize their activities, including through providing fire patrol equipment. Regarding the response stage, the timber company and district station provide fire equipment, excavators, and firefighter squads to help the FCC with firefighting. This situation reflects each party’s dependence on the others’ resources (Raitio and Saarikoski 2012), and the collaborative approach can redistribute and mobilize those resources (Thomson and Perry 2006).
Emerson and Gerlak (2014) also argue that resource sharing is crucial for enabling people to adapt to climate change. Funding from donors for anticipatory measures has enabled the local community in our case study to construct 32 canal blocks to rewet degraded peatlands. The lobbying process by the TPSP researchers convinced the timber company to agree to share the water from its concession to the community area. Regarding the preparedness stage, the local community has been able to conduct fire patrols with support from donors of equipment such as motorcycles, safety shoes, and uniforms. The military backing of the subdistrict army and police stations has also enabled the FCC members to take preventive actions, such as controlling the activities of hunters and other visitors.
However, we find that the FCC members were poorly positioned in terms of the financial incentive. Looking at preparedness, the FCC members only received US$17.26 per month from the village office because the district’s regulation did not allow the village office to pay the FCC members’ salaries and required their FCC involvement to be voluntary. The timber company also paid an additional reward (US$22.08 per month) if there was no fire during three months of fire patrols. The FCC members received no rewards in the response stage even if they made greater firefighting efforts during the day and night. Funder and Mweemba (2019) found in other case studies that local administrators in Zambia informally delegate the implementation of everyday adaptation to the local community because of limited financial resources. The government in our case study also transferred the responsibility of fire patrol and firefighting to the FCC, yet the transfer of those responsibilities was not followed with the appropriate financial support. Ramdani and Lounela (2020) have also found other cases in Indonesia where reassigning the responsibility to local communities occurs without giving them appropriate resources.
Everyday adaptation, from a broader understanding, refers to an incremental change in people’s daily lives to accommodate shifting ecologies (Castro and Sen 2022). This means that people not only adapt to temperature increases and rainfall decreases (see Herawati and Santoso 2011), but they also adapt to the new ways to live and collaborate. The local community members in our case study changed their way of life by establishing the PCC and FCC as community-level collaborative initiatives with other actors because they feel that their village is at high risk of climate impact in the form of peatland fires. We found how these collaborative activities in the village are performed routinely in daily life and how they were carried out in the anticipatory measure, preparedness, and response stages (see also Feenstra et al. 1998) through the construction of canal blocks, fire patrols, and fighting fires. Those collaborative activities have reduced not only the potential occurrence of fires but also the vulnerability of villagers to peatland fires.
The research has also shown that structural arrangements, knowledge and learning, and resource sharing (see Emerson and Gerlak 2014) are essential for generating collaborative governance to support communities in adapting to and fighting the peatland fires. The inclusion of and deliberation about structural arrangements in anticipatory measures and preparedness have allowed different actors to influence decisions. Social learning has also facilitated knowledge sharing by and among multiple actors. Finally, resource sharing has allowed actors to mobilize different resources when implementing adaptation activities to peatland fires. However, we find in the response stage that the structural arrangements did not allow multiple actors to influence decisions and share their knowledge because of the domination of police and military institutions in the decision-making processes. It is crucial that these powerful actors collaborate meaningfully in the future with the local actors, who sometimes share different interests and hierarchical positions.
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This work was part of the study funded by the University of Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta, Indonesia and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF). The authors are grateful to Saastamoinen Foundation Finland and Lembaga Pengelola Dana Pendidikan (LPDP), the Ministry of Finance-Republic of Indonesia, for covering the costs of fieldwork study in Sumatra, Indonesia. We also kindly acknowledge the Sustainability and Development Initiative (SDI) and the Initiative on Climate Adaptation Research and Understanding through the Social Sciences (ICARUS), and the Department of Geographical and Historical Studies (HIMA-UEF) for the open-access funding support. Lastly, we would also like to thank our language editors, Nick Quist Nathaniels and Carolyn Abbott, and three anonymous reviewers.
The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available because of privacy or ethical restrictions.
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Table 1. Key informant interviews in 2020.
|Actor in the community level||Number of informants||Key additional information|
|Village office||3||Head of the village office and two officers responsible for the development program and public affairs|
|Villager||2||With experience over the long period of fire accidents in the village|
|Peat Care Community (PCC)||6||Head and formal head of PCC and its members responsible for canal blocks construction and water measurement|
|Fire Care Community (FCC)||4||Head of FCC and its members responsible for the fire patrol schedule, public relations, and fire response|
|Oil palm farmer||3||Where the human-made ponds and the canal blockings exist in and around their oil palm plantation area
|Subdistrict office||1||Coordinator of government affairs|
|Subdistrict fire squad||1||Head of the squad|
|Subdistrict army station||1||Chief of village affairs|
|District firefighter station||1||Head of firefighters|
|Indonesian Peatland Restoration Agency (IPRA)
||1||Deputy in charge of research and development
|Timber company||2||Head of environmental affairs and an engineer of water planning and management|
|Fire squad of the timber company
||1||Coordinator of joint fire patrol
|Environmental Non-Government Organizations (ENGOs)|
|Local ENGOs||3||Coordinators of the program|
|International ENGOs||1||Coordinator of the program
|Tropical Peatland Society Project (TPSP)||4||Researchers and facilitators|
|REDD+||1||Coordinator of the program|