An international group of experts led by the University of Granada (UGR), plan accordingly reforestations carried out around the world, focusing not only on planting as many trees as possible, but also on doing with those that “help stop the progress of fire in the event of a fire.”
Their study, led by Alexandro B. Leverkus, a researcher from the UGR Department of Ecology, was published in the scientific journal ‘Science’ last week, as reported by the Granada academic institution in a press release quoted by Europa Press.
In many places there is an “explosion” of afforestation, supported by social movements, government initiatives and private efforts. One of the main goals is to “reduce climate change by capturing carbon in plants”.
Despite the many benefits that plants provide, reforestation can have an adverse effect on the carbon cycle due to increased fuel availability and sustainability in nature.
A recent report from the United Nations Environment Program warns that “the risk of extraordinarily severe and widespread fires has increased in many parts of the world due to climate change and man-made changes in vegetation. cultivation of extensive and dense coniferous and eucalyptus forests“.
“If reforestation increases the risk of fire spreading, it can reverse the benefits in terms of carbon sequestration, because the accumulated carbon will be released back into the atmosphere, making it even more likely that the fire will spread to other areas. Therefore, reforestation programs must take into account fire risk reduction,” explained the UGR researcher.
On the one hand, vegetation-altering actions such as reforestation should consider how the new composition and configuration of landscapes may affect fire dynamics.
In favor of ‘mosaic forests’
“Small patches of different types of vegetation or land use and mosaic landscapes should be preferred and the creation of large continuous and homogeneous masses should be avoided. your trees. In a forest, it is appropriate to have discontinuities between the bush vegetation and the treetops to prevent the fire from climbing the treetops.
“Use in afforestation A low density and a large variety of low combustible species can also help slow the spread of fire.Leverkus continued his words as follows.
Therefore, it is important that reforestation helps “improve the ability of vegetation to regenerate after a fire.” There are many types of plants that do not die and can give new shoots after the shoot consumes its leaves and branches.
This ensures a rapid regeneration capacity of the ecosystem after a fire and reducing negative consequences such as erosion. According to the information provided by UGR, “Using re-sprouting native species in reforestation can be an important tool for improving environmental quality.biodiversity and long-term carbon sequestration considering increased fire risk”.
The anticipated benefits of reforestation lead to ambitious political goals of planting hundreds of thousands, millions, or even trillions of trees. “With this we take the risk of planting more trees than necessary in places where there will be no trees naturally, where we will affect pre-established native and diverse vegetation”.
The authors stressed that this would create “large and dense wood masses with species that pose a high risk for fire spread and are easy and inexpensive to install but have negative characteristics in terms of fire mitigation and subsequent regeneration.” ‘.
Therefore, “This call Avoid emphasizing how many trees we want to plant and focus on reforestation and the ability of the surrounding vegetation to capture carbon over the long term., even in future fire scenarios. Otherwise, we will increase the risk of new types of fires, large amounts of carbon emissions into the atmosphere, reduction of vegetation and ecosystem collapse.
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