Forest fires causing global warming

Forest fires causing global warming

13 November 2007

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New Delhi, India — Noting the contribution forest fires make to the rate ofclimate change by emitting greenhouse gases, experts today called for makinggreatest use of latest technology to control, monitor and prevent the fires.

Participating in a national workshop here, they also stressed the need ofcollecting adequate data on the incidence of forest fires, and involving thelocal people in their management.

Delivering the key note address, well-known forest expert and ChattisgarhPlanning Board vice-chairman DN Tiwari said there was extreme lack of adequatedata on forest fires which should be addressed at the earliest beforeformulating any management strategy.

He also called for creating a wildfire network in South Asia and a nationalnodal agency to coordinate fire fighting, prevention and monitoring.

Tiwari said an early warning system was a must to keep track of forest fires.Besides, there was the need of developing satellite driven products.

He called for using airjet extinguishers, adding that its use in China was socommon.

Tiwari also advocated construction of check dam and water bodies to makewater locally available to put out fire, as most of the time it is not to befound when a fire breaks out.

Speaking at the inaugural session, minister of state for forest andenvironment S Regupathy said forest cover was very necessary for climatesecurity.

Forests both impact and are impacted by climate change. Forest fires not onlycontribute significantly to GHG emission but loss of resource renders the areamore vulnerable to climate change.

He said a wide array of technology should be used for reporting andmonitoring the fire.

The minister said forests were under increasing biotic pressure and globally350 million hectare of forest area was affected by fire annually.

In India forest fires were leading to degradation of forest land and damagingthe ecosystem.

Pointing out that there were about two lakh joint forest management (JFM)committees, he said they should be involved in forest fire management, addingthat those affected by the firest most would naturally be the best ally in thisfight.

Earlier, secretary of the ministry Meena Gupta said that socio-economicbenefits of forests far outweigh the profits people get by burning forest, andthey should be taught to understand it.

Director general of forests JPL Srivastava remarked that India was still veryfar behind in forest fire management, which needed to be modernised without anydelay.

About 120 experts from the field of forest, environment and department ofspace were attending the workshop.

There are sessions on prevention, detection and monitoring of forest fires,fire suppression and management, ecological effects of forest fires, firemanagement in protected areas and fire monitoring proforma and data basedevelopment.

The workshop enabled participants, invited from all over the country andgovernment officials, to interact with each other on various issues likenon-availability of funds, different traditional and local management to improvewater retention, effect of fire on forest dynamics, fire identification usingsatellite imagery, application of moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer(modis), ecological disastrous effects of forest fires besides other aspects.

Principal chief conservators of wildlife and chief wildlife wardens fromstates, organisations like Indian Council of Forestry, Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun, Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun, Forest Survey ofIndia (FSI), Dehradun, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment(ATREE), World Wildlife Fund (WWF), National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) andofficers from the ministry are participating in this workshop.

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