Global Warming Causes Wildfires and Vice Versa – Scientists Warn of Changes in Climate Vegetation and Possible Extinctions

Global Warming Causes Wildfires and ViceVersa – 
Scientists Warn of Changes in Climate Vegetation and Possible Extinctions

17 November 2006

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USA — Researchers at the Third International Fire Ecology and ManagementCongress in San Diego said that global warming could fuel ferocious wild-landfires in parts of the world. This could disrupt ecosystems and possibly causeextinctions of native plants and animals.

The scientists say that “now is the time for us to develop and adopt firemanagement strategies that will enable us to respond to a changing globalclimate and thereby reduce potential disruptions to plant communities, fireregimes and, ultimately, the ecosystem processes and services tied to fire.”

Conditions that were once considered rare are now more frequent, and theresearchers say this is due to climate change. Extreme wildfire events wherehigh heat is released from the fire and longer fire seasons could evenexacerbate “further climate change”.

They said that fires will become the primary agent of vegetation change inmany natural ecosystems, which could cause temperate dry forests to be convertedto grasslands or moist tropical forests could be converted to dry woodlands.

The scientists acknowledge that there is an uncertainty in their projections.But they caution: “Without taking action to restore fire-dependent ecosystemstoday and, in the absence of thoughtful preparation and planning for the future,wildland fires will become increasingly difficult to manage.”

The meeting continues through Friday and has attracted thousands ofscientists, firefighters and fire professionals from 25 countries.

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