I know from many years of personal experience in the Malaysian rainforest (Sarawak, Sabah and Peninsular Malaya) that it is not inflammable. Dayaks and aborigines cultivate small patches of shifting cultivation called ladangs, but the trees have to be felled and dried in the sun before they can be burned. No precautions are necessary to prevent the surrounding rainforest from catching fire.

Yet, I often hear of rainforest being burned on a vast scale, particularly in Brazil, and wonder how it can be rainforest if it burns so easily. Are these inflammable forests really rainforests, or are they being confused with monsoon forests which are dry for a large part of the year?

Another type of vegetation in Malaysia is what we call secondary jungle and Malays call belukar. It is a kind of thorny scrub which soon springs up on abandoned ladangs, and is probably easier to slash and burn than primary rainforest. Left for about 60 years, belukar becomes primary rainforest again.

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    $\begingroup$ PS. Some of the burning "rainforest" I've seen featured on TV recently looks more like scrub from previous cultivation, which in Malaya would be called belukar. In addition, much of the Brazilian forest is monsoon forest, which is much drier than rainforest. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 24 '19 at 9:28
  • $\begingroup$ It is called SLASH and burn agriculture. they don't burn the trees while they are still standing. They chop down all the woody plants,dry them, then burn everything. The burning they are referring too are not forest fires run amok, they are human controlled burns. $\endgroup$ – John Aug 25 '19 at 5:10
  • $\begingroup$ The forests currently burning in Brazil are tropical rainforests. With regard to Malaysia, it is currently battling multiple fires in its rainforests. I suspect you have an overly restrictive view of what qualifies as a "rainforest" and are thinking of cloud forests, which represent a tiny fraction of what most climatologists think of as rainforests. $\endgroup$ – David Hammen Aug 25 '19 at 16:28
  • $\begingroup$ I have spent years living and working in the Malaysian rainforest, while you only have second hand opinions. to work with. While I was there, the only fires were the shifting slash and burn cultivation which I describe in my answers. Can you explain why it has changed so much (according to you) since I was there, and why crashed aircraft in WW2 never set it on fire? $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 25 '19 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ PS I have roamed the rainforest at all altitudes, from lowland rain forest in Johor and Brunei to mountain rainforest in Perak, Ipoh, Sarawak and Sabah. Felled and sun dried rainforest is not the same thing as pristine rainforest, which is what I explored. It is pretty obvious you know almost nothing about it. Please answer my questions. $\endgroup$ – Michael Walsby Aug 25 '19 at 17:16

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