Forest fires increase the greenhouse effect

Fire in Greece promoted by rural exodus and fallow

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The mountains in Greece were as devastating as ever. Why the fire causes so much damage, has many reasons. One of the main causes in the view of German fire-igologists is the flight from the land, which causes the areas that are no longer cultivated to fumble and provides so much food for firing.

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The brothers in southern Europe are the most violent in decades. This has several causes. For many years, the young population has moved from the countryside to the city. "The land is thus broke and growing - it fizzles, " says Johann G. Goldammer of the working group for fire ecology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Freiburg. As these rural areas are less managed, there is much more combustible material in the forest. As a result, fires are much easier and more blazing.

Soil speculation has not been proven

But why the fires break out in so many places has different reasons. The suspicions that land speculators lay the fires was "scientifically not yet proven, " says Goldammer: "Although there are indications, but these should first be fully investigated." Unexplained ownership could favor this criminal practice. Since it is often unclear to whom the burned-out ground belongs, "this legal uncertainty can lead to building permits for these areas being pronounced very freely." Display

In addition, many farmers burn their stubble fields after the harvest season to make the soil more nutritious. "This is negligent and very dangerous, " says Johann Goldammer: "The fire can spread to the forest and cause great damage. Therefore this practice is forbidden by law in Germany. "

In April it was dangerous for us too

Germany is not immune to hot and dry weather. Because hot summers favor forest fires here as well. Strong winds and lack of rain increase the fire danger. "We had such a dangerous situation in April. The German fire index was dark red, "said Goldammer:" Only it has not burned as bad with us as currently in Greece. We came away with a black eye. "

The fires in southern Europe, however, have an indirect effect on us. Although the smoke plumes, which contain dangerous soot particles, do not reach Germany, the fires have a worldwide impact: Fewer forests also absorb less carbon dioxide. "If we lose these forests, this is a net contributor to the greenhouse effect, " says Goldammer. In order to curb these negative effects, the forests would have to be reforested on record, as heavy rains in the fall and winter otherwise erode the earth. Furthermore, controlled fires in winter could preventively reduce the combustible material in the forests. According to the researcher, in order to preserve the land, forestry profits should also be used more frequently to protect them.

(MPG, 30.08.2007 - NPO)