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Question – The problem of increasing wildfires and its global spread is increasing the dangers of climate change, discuss. – 14 July 2021

Answer – Increasing wildfires & Effect of WildFires on Climate Change

Cause of forest fire:

  • Most of the incidents of forest fires seen around the world are man-made. Man-made factors of forest fire include clearing of forest area to prepare new fields for agriculture, leaving burning cigarette or any other inflammable object near forest area etc.
  • According to the Brazilian Space Research Center, 99 percent of the fires recorded in the Amazon rain forests are caused by human intervention or accidental or for a specific purpose.
  • Some natural causes of forest fires are also counted, which include lightning, friction between dry leaves of trees, high temperature, dryness in plants, etc.
  • Presently such incidents are becoming more frequent due to excessive human encroachment/intervention in the forests. Such incidents have also increased due to various types of human activities like grazing animals, shifting cultivation, passing of electric wires through forests and people smoking in forests etc.
  • Under Jhum cultivation, trees and vegetation are first cut and burnt. The cleared land is then plowed with old tools (wooden plows etc.) and the seeds are sown. The crop is completely dependent on nature and the production is very less.
  • The benefits of global cooperation on disaster resilient infrastructure (CDRI) should be leveraged through agreements such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and international knowledge platforms such as the Coalition for Reducing Earthquake Impacts.

Effects of Forest Fire:

  1. Forest fires cause great damage to the natural wealth of the region, with the Forest Survey of India estimating an annual forest loss of Rs 440 crore from forest fires. Due to forest fires many animals become homeless and they migrate to cities in search of new places.
  2. The nutrients present in the soil of the forest are also severely deficient and it also takes a long time to get them back. Forest fires result in chemical and physical changes in the top layer of soil, which also affects the groundwater level.
  3. It also harms the livelihood of tribals and rural poor. According to statistics, about 300 million people in India are directly dependent on the collection of forest products for their livelihood.
  4. Extinguishing forest fires requires a lot of economic and human resources, due to which the government has to suffer a lot.
  5. Forest fires cause loss of jobs and industries based on forests and adversely affect the means of livelihood of many people. Apart from this, the tourism industry based on forests also suffers a lot.
  6. California, Australia and the Mediterranean region have seen several cases of wildfires over the years. Historically, these regions have been known to have hot and dry climates, but due to climate change these regions have become hotter and drier. Climate change has led to an increase in temperature as well as a decrease in rainfall in these regions.

Challenges from forest fire:

  • There is lack of proper policies to deal with forest fires in different countries of the world, especially in India, there are no clear guidelines related to forest fire management. Significantly, in the year 2017, the National Green Authority (NGT) had asked the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to formulate a policy in this regard at the national level, but till now no work has been done on it. Direction.
  • Lack of funds to deal with forest fires is also a major challenge.
  • According to statistics, most forest fires are man-made, which is relatively difficult to predict.

Way forward:

  • Considering forest fires as an important dimension of climate change, we need to have a global policy to deal with it, which addresses various important aspects related to forest fires.
  • With some special models being used by many countries regarding forest fire management, it is necessary that other countries also change and use them accordingly.

Modern techniques like radio-acoustic sound system and Doppler radar should be adopted for forest fire detection.

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