Wildfires worldwide have doubled in 20 years

Wildfires around the world have doubled in the past 20 years, particularly in boreal forests, “most likely” due to climate change, according to a study published Wednesday.

by AFP

He explained that the situation is particularly tragic in countries such as Russia, which experienced unprecedented fires last year, while the “El Niño” phenomenon exacerbated the loss of forest mass in Latin America. Report In partnership with Global Forest Watch (GFW), World Resources Institute (WRI) and University of Maryland.

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Compared to 2001, fires in the past two decades have swept about 3 million hectares each year, which is the size of Belgium.

70% of the surface devoured by fire is concentrated in forests located in the far north, in regions of Russia, Canada and Alaska, the largest deposits of carbon on the planet to date.

Russia has lost 53 million hectares in the last two decades, which is equivalent to the area of ​​France, but the situation is also tragic in Brazil, which lost 9.5 million hectares in that period, which is equivalent to 15% of the world total.

“Two-thirds of these losses occur in primary forests, which are important reserves of carbon and biodiversity,” the text explained.

The loss of forests due to fires increased by 4% each year worldwide, an additional 230 thousand hectares. About half of this increase is due to larger fires in boreal forests, “likely a result of higher temperatures in northern regions,” add the researchers.

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In Europe, the Copernicus satellite monitoring service warned last week that wildfires have reached record levels this year. Tens of thousands of hectares were lost in France, Spain and Portugal.

Climate change “may be a major factor” in this increase. At the same time, these fires exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions, creating a “feedback cycle”.

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The researchers called on governments to strengthen forest protection and combat deforestation. “Forests are one of the best defenses against climate change,” McCarthy explained.

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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