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Detecting Forest Fire Risk Areas in Brunei


From 15 till 17th August 2017, Dr. Shafi Noor Islam participated in the 14th South East Asia Survey Congress 2017 which was organized by the Survey Department, Ministry of Development, Brunei Darussalam at the Rizqun International Hotel in Bandar Seri Begawan.

He presented a paper titled 'Detecting Forest and Bush Fire Risk Areas in Brunei Darussalam: Case Analysis on Brunei Muara and Belait Districts'.

The land of Brunei Darussalam is approximately 80 percent under forest cover. These forests belong to six major types. The findings show that peat swamp forest covers 17% of the total land area, and freshwater swamp forest and mangrove forest cover 2 percent and 3 percent of the total land area respectively.

Table 1. Forest cover by districts with the ration of the total land area occupied by the districts respectively (Source: Forest Department of Brunei Darussalam, 2003).

Table 2. Extent forest in Brunei Darussalm in 1980 (Source: Anderson et al., 1984)

Over 30 percent of the peatland swamp forest is used for agriculture and 30 percent of peatland forest is degraded by logging. Moreover, peat swamp forests are prone to forest fires, which are the new threat for virgin green forests and the ecology of Brunei.

The study focused on two districts in Brunei Darussalam (Brunei Muara and Belait districts) with recurring fire calamities over the past three years (2014-2016).

Figure 1. Forest and bush fire areas in Brunei Muara District (2014-2016)

Figure 2. Forest and bush fires in 2015 in Belait District

Since fire can cause extensive damage to natural and human resources, the study was carried out based on three objectives: identifying the potential causes of forest fire occurrences, fire distribution and frequency during the dry season.

In Brunei, forestry excellence management agenda act as the national objectives for sustain-able forestry (Forestry Department, 2011). Which are recognized the following potential issues:

  1. Forest for posterity and prosperity to maintain the pristine condition of the country’s forests in perpetuity and as a key for continued prosperity in response to the national agenda of development.
  2. Forest for sustainable production in goods and services under sustainable management regime. By ensuring optimum provisions of forest goods and services in regard of its effect to ecology and environment.
  3. Forest for economic strength, maximizing economic contribution from forestry sec-tor to support diversification effort.
  4. Forest for public involvement and recreation, through the development of recreational parks in bringing people close to nature built with facilities.
  5. Forest for international prestige. As an exemplar nation in addressing global issue of climate change, biodiversity, food security and greenhouse effect.


The more important natural causes of deforestation which have been identified include fire from lighting strike, gales which cause trees to be broken or uprooted in the process of diseases native animals and temporary sever weather or drought which leads to tree death (die back). In this investigation of detecting forest and bush fire in Brunei Muara and Belait districts the 4 years data analysis model show that the forest fire in Brunei is increasing and new areas are cover year to year. The findings show that natural rough weather, anthropogenic influences and climate change impacts are also responsible for forest and bush fire risk areas in Brunei Darussalam. Based on the findings of this study, it is fair to conclude that:


Dr. Shafi Noor Islam Receiving the Quality Presentation Appreciation Award at the SEASC-2017 in Bandar Seri Begawan


I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to my students who helped me to collect data and information. Special thanks to Yap Seew Ling Jenny, Awg Mohaidi Bin Matusin, Nur Syahiirah Bte Abu Bakar and Muhammad Hazwan bin Suhaini (Bachelor Students in the Dept. of Environmental Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam).