Blazes also contributed greatly to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change
Forest fires in large parts of Canada and Russia resulted in almost a quarter of global forest losses between 2011 and 2013, a new study revealed.
The study was conducted by researchers from Global Forest Watch, who analyzed the loss of forests by combining over 400,000 pictures of the earth’s surface. They found that a total of 18 million hectares were lost in 2013, with Canada and Russia being the most significant contributors to forest cover losses in the preceding two years.
A more worrying implication from the fires in the two countries is their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions leading to climate change.
“If global warming is leading to more fires in boreal forests, which in turn leads to more emissions from those forests, which in turn leads to more climate change,” study co-author Nigel Sizer told the Guardian. “This is one of those positive feedback loops that should be of great concern to policy makers.”
The other three main contributors to global deforestation between 2011 and 2013 were Brazil, the U.S. and Indonesia, although the latter’s losses fell to their lowest level in over a decade in 2013 in what is seen as an encouraging sign.