Fire Ecology, 2013
Volume 9, Issue 2
Ignition Stories: Indigenous Fire Ecology in the Indo-Australian Monsoon Zone
Author: Don L. Hankins
As Indonesia’s forested areas are continually threatened by unsustainable forestry practices and fires, Ignition Stories contributes to our understanding of anthropogenic fires within the region. Cynthia Fowler, an anthropologist, presents the narratives of fire in the Kodi region on the island of Sumba, Indonesia. The text is described as an ethnography of fire amongst the Kodi people. Stories of fire are interspersed amongst the author’s narratives from the times she spent with the Kodi in 1997 and 2007. Two visits, ten years apart, have enabled Fowler to interpret changes in practice and story over this time period. These stories unfold across 14 chapters, which include topics ranging from fire history to the governance of forests and fires. Fowler has set out to establish an understanding of the fire use practices and knowledge of the Kodi in hopes of elucidating national and international policies that seek to minimize burning. Like many indigenous populations, the Kodi struggle to maintain their cultural use of fire throughout the history of settlement and policy development.