GLOBE WARMS : RAINFORESTS BURN

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GLOBE WARMS : RAINFORESTS BURN

 user 2006-09-25 at 11:22:00 am Views: 46
  • #16490

    Globe warms: rainforests burn
    Forest fires rage across Indonesia and Brazil
    A
    Greenpeace team has investigated and documented the forest fires in
    Sumatra, Indonesia, which have now become an annual phenomenon, thanks
    to the effects of unsustainable logging, and are the cause of a thick
    smog-like haze over the entire region which threatens the health of
    millions of people and adds to the problem of climate change.A
    Greenpeace team has investigated and documented the forest fires in
    Sumatra, Indonesia, which have now become an annual phenomenon, thanks
    to the effects of unsustainable logging, and are the cause of a thick
    smog-like haze over the entire region which threatens the health of
    millions of people and adds to the problem of climate change.
    Enlarge Image

    International
    — In what is becoming an annual event, fires are sweeping through the
    tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Brazil. The burning of the
    rainforests not only threaten biodiversity in the affected areas but,
    by contributing towards climate change, they also put the entire planet
    at risk.In tropical latitudes, months pass without any rain and in the
    dry season forests become susceptible to fire. These can occur
    naturally and would normally not pose a serious problem, but clearing
    land as a result of logging or to make way for plantations is
    exacerbating the problem and every year the fires spread faster and
    further.

    Greenpeace teams in both Indonesia and Brazil have
    recorded the scale of the infernos and are clear about the reasons why
    they are happening. Much of the forests in the Indonesian province of
    Riau in Sumatra are peatland forests, so normally protected from fire
    by their boggy environment, but industrial activity has changed all
    that. The forests are being cleared for plantations of oil palms and
    acacia pulpwood for paper, creating the perfect conditions for fires at
    the same time.”Once these peat swamps are exposed due to logging,”
    Greenpeace forest campaigner Hapsoro explained, “they dry out like a
    wet sponge exposed to sunlight and become extremely flammable. Once it
    starts burning, it’s very difficult to stop without heavy rain.”The
    effects of the Indonesian fire also spread across the region. Smoke
    drifts across South East Asia, clogging the air above the Malaysian
    peninsular and incurring the wrath of neighbouring governments, and
    Hapsoro urged the Indonesian authorities to take urgent measures. “The
    Indonesian government must seriously reconsider allowing any type of
    land clearing to be done in these areas to minimise the possibility of
    large and uncontrolled forest fires,” he said.
           
    In the
    Brazilian Amazon, fires have been witnessed in several protected areas
    and the Greenpeace team sent to investigate also saw rampant
    deforestation and illegal logging. In the Jamanzim National Forest,
    using natural resources responsibly is permitted, but intense logging
    activity has been observed within protected areas.Both regions boast
    some of the most diverse varieties of plant and animal life anywhere in
    the world but fragile habitats, already under pressure from human
    activities, are being pushed even harder by the increasing number and
    scale of the fires.

    Rest of the world suffers too
    Rainforests
    play a vital role in regulating the global climate and the more trees
    that are felled, the more unpredictable the climate will
    become.Tropical deforestation accounts for around 20 percent of global
    carbon dioxide emissions, a staggering amount that explains why 75
    percent of Brazil’s own carbon dioxide contribution comes from forest
    conversion.But with drought plaguing many areas – such as last year’s
    catastrophic event in the Amazon – the forests dry out and become even
    more susceptible to fire. This in turn releases more carbon dioxide and
    smog into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change and the cycle of
    destruction continues.This isn’t just a problem for Brazil and
    Indonesia but for the whole planet. Concrete efforts must be made at a
    local level to protect rainforests from illegal logging and conversion
    to plantations, but there must also be international support to back
    this up. Sustainable management of the forests allows local communities
    to support themselves and make a living.