Firesin Thailand and Cambodia 

16 January 2002


Many fires (red pixels) were seen burning across Thailand
and Southern Cambodia on January 8, 2002, by the
Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

Almost the entire countries of Thailand (center) and Cambodia (lower right) were remarkably cloud-free in this true-color scene. Thailand is bordered by the countries of Myanmar to the west, Laos to the north and east, and Cambodia to the southeast.

Similar Image of the same region
on 15 January 2002, by the
Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS)
flying aboard NASA’s Terra satellite.

The application of firein land-use systems and human-caused wildfires in forests and other vegetationin insular and continental South East Asia during the 1990’s have reachedunprecedented levels and have been leading to severe environmental problems andimpacts on ecosystems and society. Traditional slash-and-burn agriculture(shifting cultivation) is still practiced in many countries of the region.During the 1990’s an increase of fire application for large-scale conversion ofprimary and secondary forests into permanent agricultural systems and into treeplantations has been observed, particularly in Indonesia. Wildfires escapingfrom land-use fires are becoming more and more regular, especially duringepisodic droughts (inter-annual climate variability) associated with the El Niño- Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event.

InThailand, 25.28% of total land area which are equivalent to 12.97 millionhectares are covered by forests. The Deciduous forests share 53.46% of totalforested areas, while the rest are 46.54% of evergreen forests. Fires have longbeen a human-caused component in various forest ecosystems. They occur annuallyduring the dry season from December to May with the peak period in February andMarch. In normal year, the most common surface fires mainly take place in
DryDipterocarp forests and in Mixed Deciduous forests. During extended droughtrelated to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) event, fires spread, to acertain extent, in to Dry Evergreen, Hill evergreen or event in some parts ofthe Tropical Rain forest. In certain extreme dry sites it is common that forestsburn twice per fire season. Although other types of fire are not typical to theforest of Thailand, in the recent El Niño episode of 1997-1998, a notablenumbers of crown fire took place in Pine (Pinusspp.) plantations. Peat-swamp forests desiccated extremely and a number ofground fires occurred.
(Source: IFFN No. 26, in press)

For Background Information  please see IFFN Country Reportson Thailand and Cambodia.

In Addition you can visit FAOForestry home page where you can navigate by Country.

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