‘Like 16 football fields a minute’: Shocking number of trees burned in one year

The 2021 wildfires lost about 16 football fields trees per minute, according to a new report.

Data from the Global Forest Watch initiative shows that globally, the number of burning trees almost doubled over the past 20 years.

changing of the climate this is a key factor in this increase as it creates higher temperatures and drier conditions.

Belonging 9 million hectares of trees consumed by fire in 2021, more than 5 million were in Russia.

The new data allows researchers to distinguish between trees lost to fires and trees destroyed by agriculture, logging or deliberate arson.

“More frequent and severe”

In 2021, the second worst year on record, the fire area Portuguese size.

“It’s amazing,” says James McCarthy, an analyst at Global Forest Watch.

“This is almost double what it was just 20 years ago. It’s amazing how much fire activity has increased in such a short time.”

The effects of fire losses are felt primarily in forests most northern countries like Canada and Russia.

This is what the forest looked like after the fire.

While fires have long been a natural part of the functioning of these forests, the scale of destruction in Russia in 2021 was unprecedented.

Of the 9.3 million hectares burned worldwide, Russia accounted for more than half.

“The most alarming thing is that there are more and more fires. frequent, more severe and they have the potential to unlock a lot of the carbon stored in the soil,” McCarthy said.

Trees and soils store carbon dioxide, one of the main gases that warm our atmosphere, and experts say they are critical in the fight against climate change.

heat waves

Climate change is thought to be a key driver of these fires, as rising temperatures create drier conditions that burn more trees.

Warming observed in the northern regions of the world faster paceleading to longer fire seasons.

Firefighters put out a fire with an airplane
Despite the use of new technologies, the loss of trees due to fires continues to increase.

In Russia, the 31% increase in fire losses in 2021 is partly due to extended heat waves that experts say would be next to impossible without anthropogenic warming.

“Climate change is increasing the risk of more intense, faster, and larger fires,” said Doug Morton, head of NASA’s Biosphere Science Laboratory.

“And this is most noticeable in forests, where you have to burn a lot of fuel.”

Water quality

In other parts of the world, the impact of deforestation is also causing more fires.

In the Brazilian Amazon, where tree felling recently hit a six-year high, losses from logging and farming are on the rise. Domino effect.

“Deforestation changes the local and regional climate and eliminates much of the evapotranspiration, which helps keep temperatures cooler and wetter,” McCarthy said.

Firefighters battle the aftermath of a wildfire in France
A group of firefighters in France eliminates the consequences of a forest fire.

“So cutting down these forests actually makes them hotter and drier, and more prone to fires.”

Although many of the burned trees will grow back in about 100 years, these losses have a significant impact on biodiversity. water quality and soil erosion.

gloomy prospects

The UN says the outlook for wildfires in the coming decades is bleak. expected 50% increase in extreme fires by the end of this century.

Scientists say deep and rapid reductions in global carbon emissions are key to solving this problem.

World leaders at the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, UK last year pledged to end deforestation, but that promise must be kept if we are to make a difference.

still need to pay more attention prevention according to McCarthy, wildfires instead of fighting them.

“About 50% of national fire budgets are for fire response, and less than 1% is for preparation and planning,” he says.

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Author: BBC news world
Source: La Opinion


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