Physics theory explains patterns of deforestation in the tropics

Physics theory explains patterns of deforestation in the tropics

Scientists get a handle on sizes of forest fragments using percolation theory

Predicting rising numbers is usually good news in ecology, but not if they are forest fragments. Current rates of deforestation could cause a 33-fold increase in forest fragments over the next 50 years, shows a study published in Nature.

Deforestation, fuelled by factors including habitat conversion and timber production, causes fragmentation. As large forests are cut into pieces, biodiversity suffers and carbon is also lost. To study patterns of tropical forest fragmentation, scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany) used remotely-sensed images to map more than 130 million forest fragments across 427 million hectares in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia.

They found that fragment sizes in three continents followed similar frequency distributions. The number of forest fragments smaller than 10,000 hectares, for instance, is similar in Central and South America (11.2 %), Africa (9.9 %) and south-east Asia (9.2 %).

“This is surprising because land use noticeably differs from continent to continent,” said mathematician and lead author Franziska Taubert in a press release. While habitat conversion is what plagues the Amazon, it is logging of commercially-important forest trees in south-east Asia.

Read more: http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/physics-theory-explains-patterns-of-deforestation-in-the-tropics/article22845393.ece

Đắk Nông keeps wary eye on forests to prevent dry season fires

Đắk Nông keeps wary eye on forests to prevent dry season fires

Update: February, 23/2018 – 09:00

Viet Nam News Đắk Nông — The Tây Nguyên (Central Highlands) province of Đắk Nông is working hard to ensure its more than 250,000ha of forests are not affected by fires during the dry season, which will last until the end of April.

More than 120,000ha face a high risk of fires. Of them, nearly 90,000ha are natural forests, according to the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The department’s Forest Protection Division is increasingly using information technology for forecasting forest fires and providing early warning.

Local authorities and private managers of forests have been instructed to strictly follow forest-protection and fire-prevention regulations.

Periodic fire prevention and firefighting drills are organized at localities to ensure full preparedness in case of forest fires.

Forest managers have assigned staff to monitor vulnerable areas during the dry season.

Information and instructions on fire safety are put up on boards at public places to remind the public to be vigilant.

Authorities are also strengthening other dissemination activities to raise public awareness about forest protection and fire safety. — VNS

Read more at http://vietnamnews.vn/society/423221/dak-nong-keeps-wary-eye-on-forests-to-prevent-dry-season-fires.html#FRsGqTUZFXDdvscm.99

Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

Indonesia Mobilizes to Combat Health-Damaging Forest Fires

Updated on

Jakarta, Indonesia (AP) — Four Indonesian provinces have declared emergencies in anticipation of worsening forest fires that each year spread health-damaging haze across much of Southeast Asia.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said Wednesday that emergency alerts in Riau and South Sumatra provinces on the island of Sumatra and West and Central Kalimantan on Borneo will make it easier to mobilize fire-fighting operations and support from the central government.

The agency said satellites have detected 90 “hotspots” or fires across Indonesia, with the biggest numbers in West and Central Kalimantan. Pontianak, the capital of West Kalimantan province, has been blanketed in smoke, it said.

Record Indonesian forest fires in 2015 spread haze across a swath of Southeast Asia and, according to a study by Harvard and Columbia universities, hastened 100,000 deaths.

Fires are often started by smallholders and plantation companies to clear land for planting. Many areas of Indonesia are prone to rapid burning because of the draining of swampy peatland forests for pulpwood and palm oil plantations.

Pontianak resident Reinardo Sinaga said rain in the past few days reduced the choking smoke that had affected the city for the previous two weeks.

Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-21/indonesia-mobilizes-to-combat-health-damaging-forest-fires

Lack of snow brings fire concerns

Lack of snow brings fire concerns

With half the snowpack average, and nowhere near where it was this time last year, lack of snow has public lands and fire officials nervous.

Lake Tahoe snowmobilers are being asked to ride where there is actually snow.

“This winter has been a challenge for all winter recreation users,” said Tahoe Sierra Snowmobiling Club president, Greg McKay. “Snowmobilers should take extra care to minimize resource damage that low snow conditions present when they recreate and should follow Forest Service guidance.”

Snow is in the forecast for Washington’s Birthday, but accumulations are expected to be light, with even the high Sierra only forecast to see around 4 inches.

Snowmobile operators should avoid bare dirt and patchy snow and should not ride across streams or over small trees or brush, according to the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. Operating snowmobiles on too little snow create ruts in the soil and crush vegetation.

Still no action taken on threatening of forest patroller

Still no action taken on threatening of forest patroller

Indonesia assures ASEAN neighbours a haze-free 2017

VNA 

 

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Indonesia has assured that there will be no transboundary haze problems plaguing Southeast Asia’s skyline this year, said Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry advisor Arief Yuwono.

Speaking at the 19th Technical Working Group and Sub-Regional Ministerial Steering Committee on Transboundary Haze Pollution in Kuala Lumpur on May 18, he said that the prediction was based on 2016’s record as the year saw almost zero recurrence of haze.

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