Logging ‘amplified’ severity of Black Summer bushfires

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An evaluation of the hearth footprint of the 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires has discovered logging elevated the chance of high-severity fires.

A workforce of Australian researchers, together with Professor David Lindenmayer and Dr. Chris Taylor from The Australian National University (ANU), accomplished the research.

The Black Summer bushfires burned via greater than 24 million hectares and destroyed hundreds of houses.

Professor Lindenmayer mentioned whereas climate situations had the largest affect on the severity of the fires, these results had been amplified by logging. According to Professor Lindenmayer, logged forests all the time burn at larger severity than intact forests.

“Logging increases the probability of canopy damage by five to 20 percent and leads to long-term elevated risk of higher severity fire,” he mentioned.

“On the other hand, if disturbance due to logging is minimized, canopy damage can be reduced, in turn reducing the risk of uncontrollable fires.”

Dr. Chris Taylor from ANU says that “even in mild fire weather, logged forests were more likely to suffer high severity fire than unlogged forests under more severe weather conditions.”

Researchers from ANU, Curtin University, Macquarie University and University of Queensland contributed to the research.

Dr. Michelle Ward of the University of Queensland says that “research shows that forests become dramatically less likely to burn when they mature. Mature forests are also less likely to carry fire into the treetops.”

Dr. Robert Kooyman of Macquarie University says that “protected areas and associated threatened species, including rainforest assemblages, are at higher risk of fire impacts where they occur adjacent to previously logged eucalypt forest.”

The research’s authors warn that logging isn’t just growing the chance of extreme fires, but additionally the chance to human lives and security.

“We cannot forget the impacts these megafires had on people’s lives,” Professor James Watson of the University of Queensland mentioned.

“We need to use the evidence to reduce the risk of future megafires wherever possible and it is obvious logged forests increased the risk and severity of these fires.”

“Reducing the amount of logging can reduce the risk of uncontrollable high severity fires that endanger humans, homes, and biodiversity.”

The analysis has been printed in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Logging will increase threat of extreme hearth for rural and regional cities

More data:
David B. Lindenmayer et al, Logging elevated the likelihood of high-severity hearth within the 2019–20 Australian forest fires, Nature Ecology & Evolution (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41559-022-01717-y

Logging ‘amplified’ severity of Black Summer bushfires (2022, April 22)
retrieved 24 April 2022

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