Fores fires cause biodiversity loss: forum

Forest fires cause biodiversity loss: forum

21 October 2014

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Korea — Global forest experts on Tuesday discussed the negative impact of forest fires, including the loss of biological diversity, during a sideline event of the 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity hosted by the Korea Forest Service.

“In recent years, we have frequently witnessed large-scale forest fires all over the globe, mostly on account of climate change. This has caused damage to plants, wild animals and insects, leading to a loss in biodiversity,” said Kim Hyun-soo, chief of the Korea Forest Service’s forest protection bureau.

Biological diversity is the variety of life on Earth, and can refer to genetic, ecosystem or species variation.

Citing a recent fire in Indonesia that has affected neighboring countries, Kim said, “More global cooperation is needed to minimize such risks as forest fires have the potential to escalate into global calamities.”

During the forum, Lim Joo-hoon, a researcher at the Korea Forest Research Institute, delivered a presentation on South Korea’s efforts to secure biological diversity in the country’s eastern coastal areas, where the biggest forest fire in korean history occurred in 2000.

John Leigh, a conservation officer at the International Tropical Timber Organization, also spoke of the damage inflicted by forest fires worldwide and how they affect global biodiversity.

The Korea Forest Service said more knowledge about the effects of forest fires would be shared at the sixth International Wildland Fire Conference to be held in October 2015 in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province.

The International Wildland Fire Conference is a venue where global experts in wildfire management share their knowledge and experience of fire management methodology and seek strategies to further enhance international cooperation, the KFS said.

“Korea also plans to share its efforts on forestation and forest fire prevention over the last 40 years with other nations at the conference,” said Kim.

Up to 80 government officials and experts participated in Tuesday’s forum.

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