Focus on threat due to man-made forest fire: Experts

Focus on threat due to a man-made forest fire: Experts

Published: Mar 29, 2018, 1:17 am IST
The organisation has written to the state government stating that there has been over 250 instances of forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.
The organization has written to the state government stating that there have been over 250 instances of a forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.

Mumbai: The Draft National Forest policy focuses on preventing natural forest fires and upgrading the warning process but it makes no mention of the threat posed by man-made forest fires. In Maharashtra, which has the highest cases of forest fire registered in the country, environmentalists have claimed that most of the cases are of man-made fire incidents. The same has been observed in Mumbai and Thane.

The Draft National Forest Policy states, “Adequate measures would be taken to safeguard ecosystems from forest fires, map the vulnerable areas and develop and strengthen early warning systems and methods to control fire, based on remote sensing technology and community participation.” It also mentions that awareness will be created about causes and impacts of fire on forests and local livelihoods.

“Although there has been an acknowledgment on the increasing cases of forest fires, not much has been considered for the prevention of man-made fire in forests. In fact in forest areas of Raigad, there have been consistent cases of deliberate fire by arsonists. As such, apart from regular monitoring, we need better convictions for such miscreants,” said Godfrey Pimenta, Trustee of Watchdog Foundation. The organization has written to the state government stating that there have been over 250 instances of the forest fire in areas from Panvel to Ratnagiri destroying more than 1,000 acres of forest land over past few months.

As per the data submitted in the Lok Sabha last December, around 3,487 incidents of forest fire were recorded in Maharashtra alone in 2017.

While the policy has also highlighted on afforestation activities in the catchment areas for improving the health of rivers, not much focus has been given on the reasons behind the deterioration of these areas, claimed the NGO. “Apart from afforestation, there is an immediate need to check upon soil erosion and denudation in catchment areas of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs,” added Mr. Pimenta.

Mysterious smoking elephant emerges from a forest fire

Mysterious smoking elephant emerges from a forest fire

The Times

Wildlife experts are puzzling over a video of a wild Indian elephant exhaling a small cloud of ash it had picked up from the remains of a fire, which appeared to resemble smoking.

The video, which has only just come to light, was shot in Nagarhole forest in the southern state of Karnataka two years ago by Vinay Kumar, a scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. The society said that it was the first known evidence of an elephant exhibiting such behavior.


Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Bac Lieu bird sanctuary faces high risk of fires

Last update 11:24 | 14/03/2018
The Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu is facing a level-4 risk of fires, which is likely to be raised to level 5, the level of extreme danger, said the sanctuary management board on March 13.

The lengthy hot spell brought high temperatures to the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary that dry canals and make plants more flammable, putting it on high alert for fires

In response to the situation, the management board has worked on shifts round the clock to watch out for the possible fires, cleared bushes and dredged canals over the past month.

It has also mobilized about 40 local residents living nearby to stay ready for any emergency while households living around the park’s buffer zone have been provided training on forest protection and asked to sign commitments that they will not set a fire in the forests.

On March 13, the board teamed up with the local firefighter police to conduct a firefighting exercise with more than 100 people in attendance.

Located in Nha Mat ward, the Bac Lieu Bird Sanctuary is only 7km from downtown Bac Lieu city. The 130-hectare park is home to over 60,000 birds, belonging to about 100 species, many of which are in danger.-VNA

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Mekong Delta works to prevent forest fires

Last update 10:49 | 12/03/2018

Provinces in the Mekong Delta have stepped up efforts to prevent forest fires as the region is entering the highly risky dry season.

In the southernmost province of Ca Mau, many measures have been put in place, especially to protect the 8,500ha U Minh Ha National Park.

Water in the higher parts of the park have been drying out since the beginning of this month and the threat of forest fire is high, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Huynh Minh Nguyen, director of the park, said rangers have taken positions in watch towers to monitor the park around the clock.

They also regularly patrol the park to prevent people from entering to collect honey, hunt or fish, activities that could cause fires.

More than 5,000 families living in the park’s buffer zone and cajeput forests have been mobilized to help fight forest fires.

The department has called on private individuals managing forests to implement preventive measures against fires.

Forest management units should regularly assess the dryness to take proper fire-prevention measures and teach local households how to prevent fires, it said.

This month the hot weather peaks in the south, according to the South Centre for Hydrometeorology Forecasting.

In An Giang province, districts with large forest areas including Tinh Bien and Tri Ton are in a state of preparedness to prevent fires, said Tran Phu Hoa, head of the province Forest Protection Sub-department., adding that Tinh Bien alone has more than 6,270ha of forests that face the risk of fires.

Kien Giang province has seven areas that face fire risks, namely U Minh Thuong National Park, Phu Quoc National Park, Phu Quoc protective forest, Hon Dat – Kien Ha protective forest, An Bien – An Minh coastal protective forest, and a forest managed by the 422 Forestry Plantation Project.

The provincial People’s Committee has issued orders to strengthen fire prevention measures.

Kien Giang has 86,450ha of zoned forests, accounting for 13.6 percent of its total area, according to its Forest Protection Sub-department.

It has spent more than 10 billion VND (440,000 USD) on preparations to prevent forest fires this year.

Truong Thanh Hao, head of the local Forest Protection Sub-department, said the province had instructed local forest rangers, the police, army, and militia to work closely to prevent fires.

The province has built temporary dams and dredged wells in forests to store water, cleared dried branches and bushes in forests and established firebreaks.

Forest management units have stepped up checks and will close the forests at the peak of the dry season.-VNA

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Up in smoke: We need to pay more attention to disappearing trees

Up in smoke: We need to pay more attention to disappearing trees

Trees are dying at unprecedented rates. Can we rethink conservation before it’s too late?
This post originally appeared on Grist.

Each year, the Earth’s trees suck more than a hundred billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That’s an impossibly huge number to consider, about 60 times the weight of all the humans currently on the planet.

Our forests perform a cornucopia of services: Serving as a stabilizing force for nearly all of terrestrial life, they foster biodiversity and even make us happier. But as climate change accelerates, drawing that carbon out of the air has become trees’ most critical role.

Absorbing CO2 is key in a time where each year matters greatly to our ability to avert the worst effects of climate change: Carbon “sinks,” like the wood of trees and organic matter buried in dirt, prevent the gas from returning to the atmosphere for dozens or even hundreds of years. Right now, about a third of all human carbon emissions are absorbed by trees and other land plants — the rest remains in the atmosphere or gets buried at sea. That share will need to rise toward and beyond 100 percent in order to counter all of humanity’s emissions past and present.

For trees to pull this off, though, they have to be alive, thriving and spreading. And at the moment, the world’s forests are trending in the opposite direction.

New evidence shows that the climate is shifting so quickly, it’s putting many of the world’s trees in jeopardy. Rising temperatures and increasingly unusual rainfall patterns inflict more frequent drought, pest outbreaks, and fires. Trees are dying at the fastest rate ever seen, on the backs of extreme events like the 2015 El Niño, which sparked massive forest fires across the tropics. In 2016, the world lost a New Zealand-sized amount of trees, the most in recorded history.

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Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Fire destroys 40ha of forest in Gia Lai

Update: March, 11/2018 – 13:00

Viet Nam News 
GIA LAI — A fire that broke out in the Ia Grai protection forest in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai was brought under control on Sunday morning.
However, more than 40ha of a forest, comprising pine trees planted in 2015, was destroyed.
Lê Tiến Hiệp, head of the forest’s management board, said that the fire occurred on Friday afternoon.
More than 200 people from the management board, provincial Border Guards and local residents from Ia Chía and Ia O communes were called to extinguish the fire.
The team managed to temporarily halt the fire on Friday night. However, due to dry conditions and strong winds, the flames reappeared. Ia Grai District authorities called for more firemen from Đức Cơ District to stamp out it.
Ia Grai District authorities kept a close watch on the scene to prevent the fire from re-occurring.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. — VNS

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Cambodia’s military crackdown recalls bloody ‘Kratie insurrection’

Cambodia’s military crackdown recalls bloody ‘Kratie insurrection’ By: Paul Millar and Leng Len – Photography by…

Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Fire at 40 points in forest near Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar; sabotage suspected

Study reshapes the floral relationships between the world’s tropical forests

Study reshapes the floral relationships between the world’s tropical forests

Hannah Halusker, College of Science

March 8, 2018

CLEMSON, South Carolina – Research from more than 100 scientists across the world, including that of Clemson professor of biological sciences Saara DeWalt, has recently combined to show that the world’s tropical forests are more similar than scientists previously thought.

In 1994, DeWalt had just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Brown University. Fully funded by a Fulbright Scholarship, DeWalt was able to conduct an ethnobotanical study in the lowland tropical forest of Bolivia. There, she assessed how an indigenous people called the Tacana made use of different tree and vine species in their everyday lives. To conduct the study, DeWalt led a forest inventory of trees near two Tacana communities.

More than two decades later, DeWalt’s documentation is part of a new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, that indicates that tropical forests can be grouped into two major regions based on the similarity of their flora: American and African tropical forests versus Indo-Pacific forests.

In addition to helping scientists reclassify the world’s tropical forests, the discovery supports what geologists know about the breakup of West Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent that contained what has since become Africa and South America.

In prior studies, researchers have attempted to understand how closely related forests in different parts of the world are by comparing how many tree species they share.

“For example, if two sites were compared, each with 100 individuals, and they shared 20 species, then we’d say the similarity of the two sites is 20 percent,” said Ferry Slik, the lead author of the study and an associate professor at the Universiti Brunei Darussalam Herbarium in Brunei, Borneo.

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Policemen, protesters hurt in Cambodian land dispute

Policemen, protesters hurt in Cambodian land dispute

At least seven policemen and two protesters were hurt Thursday in a clash after villagers in northeastern Cambodia blocked a national highway to protest being forced off land they have occupied for at least two years.

Officials and NGO workers said about 200 villagers in Kratie province who have been living on land that was given to a concessionaire to develop into a rubber plantation blocked the road for two hours.

Land disputes became a critical issue in Cambodia in the early part of last decade, as great blocs of land were granted as concessions for logging, rubber, and other economic development projects. Violent and sometimes fatal conflicts between villagers, who rarely held formal land titles, and the authorities, acting on behalf of the concession holders, became common to the point that they were considered to be a threat to political stability.

In 2012, Prime Minister Hun Sen issued a directive suspending new land concessions to private companies and ordering a review of existing ones, though it is not clear the order was effectively implemented.