The Volumetric Political Forest: Territory, Satellite Fire Mapping, and Indonesia’s Burning Peatland

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Peatland burning in Indonesia’s state forest has increased in recent years, causing protracted “haze” crises across Southeast Asia and opening up new ways of thinking about how the political forest extends into the atmosphere and the subterranean. I take up political geographers’ call to consider territory volumetrically, rather than as two-dimensional area, to analyse the politics of contemporary forest territoriality and of cross-border biophysical forest phenomena. Doing so acknowledges the increasingly volatile materiality of forests but also the ways in which state, extra-state, and non-state actors respond to forest-based crises under neoliberalism. As fires in Indonesia’s peatlands affect the subterranean and atmospheric spaces beyond the enclosed surfaces that have traditionally rendered forests political through territorialisation, analysing the vertical and volumetric dimensions of forest territory reveals the ways in which contemporary political forest-making occurs through strategic control of the expansive space above, below, and beyond forests themselves. I further suggest that such territorialisation plays out through surveillance-based legal and representational practices, such as laws that seek culpability for polluted transboundary airspace and satellite-based remote sensing of underground fires, in ways that obscure the economic and political objectives of such territorial strategies. © 2019 The Author. Antipode © 2019 Antipode Foundation Ltd. View source

Goldstein J. E.



Secondary Title



Blackwell Publishing Inc.




fire, Indonesia, mapping, political forest, surveillance, territory

Form: Journal Article
Geographical Area: Indonesia

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