Seminar by John Maddox prizewinner Professor Bambang Hero: "The role of scientific evidence in law enforcement for land & forest fire cases in Indonesia"

Thursday 14 November 2019, 1:00pm to 2:00pm


Charles Carter Building A19, Lancaster, United Kingdom, LA1 4YW - View Map

Open to

Alumni, Applicants, External Organisations, Postgraduates, Prospective Undergraduate Students, Public, Staff, Undergraduates


Registration not required - just turn up

Event Details

We are honoured to welcome John Maddox Prizewinner Professor Bambang Hero to Lancaster. Prof. Hero works on peatland fires but what really sets him apart is that is the key expert witness for the Government in the prosecution of fire cases. This is particularly relevant given this years catastrophic fires in Brazil in Indonesia.

Indonesia’s forest and land fires cause profound negative impacts to humans, the environment and relations with neighbouring countries. They produce huge amounts of GHG emissions, cause environmental destruction, destroy biodiversity and affect peat that can never be restored to its original form. These kind of the fires should never be allowed, and prevention activities are needed across the agricultural concession that are often responsible for starting fires (i.e. oil palm plantation, pulp and paper plantation). However, where they do occur, responsibility must lie with these companies. Although this may seem obvious, bringing fire cases to the court is not easy.

This talk will draw on lessons 20 years experience presenting scientific evidence about fires to Indonesian courts. It will consider how cases must be supported by enough of the right types of evidence, contain no mistakes, and accurately reflect the situation in the field, or face rejection by the court. It will describe the use of satellite imagery, supported by analyses of samples from burned areas and ground checking, and consider how we can make these data easily understandable for evaluation by judges.

A brief summary of the seminar is now available here.

The Sense about Science John Maddox Prize “recognises the work of individuals who promote science and evidence, advancing the public discussion around difficult topics despite challenges or hostility.” For more details about this year’s prizewinner see the Lancaster Environment Centre website and coverage in The Guardian. Jacob Phelps, who nominated Prof Hero for the prize, has also been quoted by Nature News about the award.


Professor Bambang Hero

Bogor Agricultural University

Contact Details

Name Dr Jacob Phelps

Telephone number

+44 1524 595043