Rain forests usually does not catch fire.
By Rakesh Agrawal
This summer brought blaze to the forests of the world and thousands of hectares of pristine greenery burnt from Uttarakhand in India to Canada and to the rainforests in the Amazon basin. Â As it was in Uttarakhand where most forest fires were started by people, either accidently or deliberately, destroying about 3500 ha forests (See, Blazing Hills of Uttarakhand: Need for Timely Interventions by Agrawal, Rakesh), it was also the case elsewhere and a recent BBC report has found that anthropogenic activities are basically responsible for most forest fires and it is true at least for Amazon fires.
This is a conclusions of a two-year study of the Brazilian Amazon, revealing that even protected forests are affected by the activities like selective logging and forest fragmentation, increasing the likelihood of wildfires and human disturbances are making the Amazon rainforest more inflammable.
While the Brazilian Amazon is protected from large-scale deforestation, but that is not sufficient and these forests must be saved from “hyper-diversity of tropical forests”.
And, these rainforests normally donâ€™t catch fire, but selective logging, for example, can leave the forest fragmented or punch holes in the canopy, drying out the vegetation below. This, coupled with the effects of climate change like almost total lack of winter precipitation in UttarakhandÂ this year, aggravated forest fire there , is leaving the Amazon rainforest much more prone to fire.
When fire can take the Amazon rainforests in its grip, deciduous and evergreen forests of Canada and Uttarakhand are no match as in Canada, Â Canada wildfire that started in May this year, burnt Â for months and reach major oil sands mine and even neighboring province of Saskatchewan.
And, the impacts of this fire were felt even across the Atlantic as it was reported that the Canadian forest fires spew dust all the way to Switzerland when ash and dust particles from the massive forest fires ravaging westernÂ CanadaÂ for the past month have been found in Switzerland, according to Swiss meteorologists.
It is become imperative to restrict human activities in the earthâ€™s forests and stop treating them as money yielding natureâ€™s enterprise and revere them as the home of earthâ€™s biodiversity and carbon reservoir for the sake of our future generations.