first_imgcarbon, Carbon Sequestration, Climate Change, Ecosystem Services, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forests, Habitat Loss, Peatlands, Rainforests, Trees, Tropical Forests A new analysis of satellite data found 29.7 million hectares of tree cover was lost in 2016. The number represents a 51 percent jump over 2015.The analysts say fire is the big culprit. The data indicate big upticks in fires around the around the world, both in areas where fire naturally occurs as well as wetter areas of the tropics where fire is a rare phenomenon.El Nino coupled with human-caused land disturbance like slash-and-burn clearing is thought to have been a big contributor to increase in fire activity around the world.Preliminary data indicate 2017 may also be a big fire year. The analysts recommend improved forest management to lower the risks of fire and tree cover loss. Last year the world lost an area of tree cover the size of New Zealand, according to satellite data. That’s around 29.7 million hectares (297,000 square kilometers) – and was a 51 percent jump over 2015.The tree cover loss data came from the University of Maryland (UMD) and were analyzed by World Resources Institute (WRI). While the data don’t just represent deforestation (they also lump in tree plantation harvesting), the analysts attribute most of the tree cover loss to human impacts affecting forests such agriculture, logging and mining.But why the big jump in tree cover loss from 2015 to 2016? The analysis points specifically to fire as the primary culprit. The data indicate big upticks in fires around the world, both in areas where fire naturally occurs — like northern Alberta, Canada — and wetter areas of the tropics where fire is (or perhaps more accurately, used to be) a rare phenomenon.One of these latter areas is the Brazilian Amazon. Rainforest is, by definition, rainy and moist, and the Amazon rainforest is no exception. Rainforest shouldn’t burn on its own — and yet, WRI’s analysis found understory fires contributed to a tripling of tree cover loss in the Brazilian Amazon (3.3 million hectares) over that time.Brazil also showed high fire activity this year, with particularly high levels in the state of Para. The fires shown were detected in the first week of October, 2017. Fire data provided by VIIRS via NASA/NOAA.Researchers believe many of these fires were set intentionally by people seeking to clear land for agriculture and other developments. Compounding the problem was an unusual dryness in the region, the result of climatic shifts like El Nino.“At risk is maintenance of the hydrological cycle and the Amazon as a system,” Thomas Lovejoy, an ecologist and Amazon expert at George Mason University, told the Washington Post last year. “When the drought is combined with more people using fire AND more people who are inexperienced using fire, the opportunity for things to get out of control gets considerably larger.”Indonesia also saw an increase in tree cover loss last year. The WRI analysts attribute this in part to the lingering effects of the wildfire crisis that wracked the country (as well as downwind portions of mainland Southeast Asia) during the latter part of 2015 and resulted in an estimated 100,000 deaths.Peatland draining and slash-and-burn agriculture are considered the primary causes of the 2015 fires. In response, Indonesia present Joko Widodo implemented a nationwide ban on peatland clearing in the hopes of heading off future catastrophic fires.In addition to fire, the analysis points to logging and agroindustrial expansion as contributors to Indonesia’s tree cover loss. In particular, West Papua – which has so far avoided the large-scale conversion of its rainforests that has heavily affected other parts of the country – showed an uptick in clearing for oil palm plantations in 2016.Together, the analysis found Brazil’s and Indonesia’s loss numbers amounted to more than 25 percent of the world’s 2016 tree cover loss. It also called out Portugal (which lost 4 percent of its tree cover in one year), the Republic of Congo (which experienced one of the largest Central African fires ever recorded), and Canada.A forest fire burns in Tanzania. Photo by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.With the loss of forests comes the loss of valuable habitat for wildlife and ecosystem services for human communities. Trees are also big storehouses of carbon; if they’re destroyed, that carbon is released into the atmosphere, advancing global warming. Scientists worry that a warming world will, in turn, lead to more forest fires as once-moist tropical regions dry and fire seasons in northern temperate areas lengthen.WRI’s analysis cautions that while 2016 has “record” levels of tree cover loss, initial numbers for 2017 indicate this year may be giving it a run for its money. Indeed, figures from the Brazilian government show more than 208,000 fires were recorded by October 5, putting 2017 on track to be a record year of fire activity. Of those fires, nearly half were detected in September alone.The WRI analysts say better forest management is needed to stop such high levels of tree cover loss.“Recent blazes in Brazil, California, Portugal and elsewhere suggest that forest fires are not going away – indeed, they may only get worse as the planet warms,” the analysts write. “The large scale of forests affected by fire and other drivers in 2016 makes it clear that, now more than ever, we need to work together towards better forest management.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Morgan Erickson-Daviscenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more