Topics

Explore the relationship between forests and several key themes critical to sustainability and the health of our future ecosystems.

Fires

Fires

Although wildfires are a natural occurrence within some forest ecosystems, fire seasons are becoming more extreme and widespread, even in tropical rainforests where fires are atypical and particularly damaging. Hotter, drier weather caused by climate change and poor land management create conditions favorable for more frequent, larger and higher-intensity wildfires.

Fires

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Fires

Natural state

In higher-latitude forests, fires help maintain a healthy forest ecosystem by releasing important nutrients into the soil and aiding in seed dispersal. In tropical forests, local and indigenous communities have used controlled fires for centuries to clear land for agriculture.

Natural state
Fires

Drivers of change

Climate change and forest degradation and fragmentation have led to more fire-prone conditions globally. With hotter and drier conditions, fires - either ignited by humans or by lightning - are more likely to burn over larger areas and at hotter temperatures. Forests degraded by logging and disease, and fragmented by deforestation are also more susceptible to fire.

Drivers of change
Fires

Compromised state

Wildfires release carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming, and in severe cases, irreparably damaging forests ecosystems. The resulting smoke and haze can travel miles, creating public health crises as people breathe in unhealthy levels of pollutants. Uncontrolled wildfires cause billions of dollars in economic damage each year as property and natural tourist attractions are destroyed, water supplies are polluted, and economies are crippled by evacuations.

Compromised state
Fires

Recovery state

Prescribed burning, improved maintenance of infrastructure, awareness raising and education on fire prevention, and policy interventions such as fire bans can reduce the risk of forest fires. Protecting forests from deforestation and degradation also improve forest resilience to fire.

Recovery state

Topics

Explore the relationship between forests and several key themes critical to sustainability and the health of our future ecosystems.

Fires

Fires

Although wildfires are a natural occurrence within some forest ecosystems, fire seasons are becoming more extreme and widespread, even in tropical rainforests where fires are atypical and particularly damaging. Hotter, drier weather caused by climate change and poor land management create conditions favorable for more frequent, larger and higher-intensity wildfires.

Fires

Scroll to discover

Fires

Natural state

In higher-latitude forests, fires help maintain a healthy forest ecosystem by releasing important nutrients into the soil and aiding in seed dispersal. In tropical forests, local and indigenous communities have used controlled fires for centuries to clear land for agriculture.

Natural state
Fires

Drivers of change

Climate change and forest degradation and fragmentation have led to more fire-prone conditions globally. With hotter and drier conditions, fires - either ignited by humans or by lightning - are more likely to burn over larger areas and at hotter temperatures. Forests degraded by logging and disease, and fragmented by deforestation are also more susceptible to fire.

Drivers of change
Fires

Compromised state

Wildfires release carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere, exacerbating global warming, and in severe cases, irreparably damaging forests ecosystems. The resulting smoke and haze can travel miles, creating public health crises as people breathe in unhealthy levels of pollutants. Uncontrolled wildfires cause billions of dollars in economic damage each year as property and natural tourist attractions are destroyed, water supplies are polluted, and economies are crippled by evacuations.

Compromised state
Fires

Recovery state

Prescribed burning, improved maintenance of infrastructure, awareness raising and education on fire prevention, and policy interventions such as fire bans can reduce the risk of forest fires. Protecting forests from deforestation and degradation also improve forest resilience to fire.

Recovery state