LOCAL WISDOM AS A PEATLAND MANAGEMENT STRATEGY OF LAND FIRE MITIGATION IN MERANTI REGENCY, INDONESIAWesti Utami and M. Nazir Salim
Damage to peatlands in Riau Province was one of the main cause of great fires in 2014-2015. Top-down peatland management without involving the local community was considered as one of the factors exacerbating the fires. This research aims to explain how local wisdom and land management patterns that changed from state management to community-based management with Social Forestry scheme applies as an effort to reduce peatland fires in Tebing Tinggi Timur District, Meranti Regency. This study used qualitative method. The data were collected by interview and field observation. The results of the study show that the local wisdom of the community in managing peatlands by building tebat (canal blockings) is able to keep wet the peat throughout the year so that the land is protected from threats of fire. The choice of plants (sago, rubber and areca nut) that has been carried out for generations has proven to be able to preserve the land and support the community's economy. Social Forestry (Village Forest) scheme becomes the community basis to legally manage and utilize the peatland/forest and provide protection for the community's rights to access and utilize the land. The results also show that the community's ability to adapt to nature and fires makes the community able to live in harmony with disaster.