The President of Indonesia banned the clearance and conversion of carbon-dense peatlands in Indonesia, including in existing concession areas. Additionally, the government has required the blockage of peat drainage canals through a series of instructions given over the course of the past few weeks in hopes of raising water tables. This decision comes in face of the recent fires that have sent approximately 500,000 people to the hospital, polluted the skies in Indonesia and neighboring countries, and released close to 1.7 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. The Indonesian government is also calling for criminal investigations into the fires. According to the President’s instructions, planting in newly burned areas will not be allowed. Instead, restoration and rehabilitation of these areas are encouraged. Yet there is no guarantee that the ban will be respected. Previous regulations intended to protect peatlands have been repeatedly ignored or circumvented. The current ban was executed through presidential and ministerial instructions but is not legally binding. Nongovernmental organizations are calling for a legally binding presidential degree of these instructions, which, according to the government, is forthcoming. For the full story, see Earlier: