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Effects of forest fires on global warming

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Effects of forest fires on global warming

Introduction

Forest fire is a common problem globally, and once the incident occurs, it can be nearly impossible to contain. Castillo et al. (2019) and Congressional Research Services (2021) suggest that more than 64100 wildfires have burned and destroyed over 6.8 million acres of natural habitat and land annually in the past decade. The Bolivia forest fires in 2010 burned approximately 3.7 million acres, and the Northwest Territories fire that happened in 2014 burned approximately 8.6 million. The Russian wildfires in 2015 burned approximately 2.7, and the British Columbia wildfire that took place in2017 burned approximately 3 million acres (Congressional Research Service, 2021). The British wildfire in 2018 further burned approximately 3.3 million acres. The Australian bushfire season in 2019 and 2020 was one of the most severe wildfires globally that burned and destroyed approximately 16 million acres.

Additionally, other wildfire cases such as the Siberia wildfire, Alberta wildfire, and Amazon rainforest wildfire in 2019 burned approximately 7.4, 2.1, and 2.2 million acres, respectively. Based on these statistics, the forest fire cases are in upward trends, which is alarming since the consequence is significantly massive. Besides destroying nature habits, forest fire also destroys buildings and farmland and sometimes leads to death. Congressional Reservice (2021) and Insurance Information Institute (2021) reveal that the California wildfire in 2018 destroyed more than 22751 buildings, and the Western US wildfire that took place in 2020 destroyed over 4000 buildings. This is just one of the few consequences that result from wild or forest fires. Congressional Reservice (2021) and Insurance Information Institute (2021) suggest that forest fire can cause pollution, disrupt transportation, and disrupt communication and water supply. Congressional Reservice (2021) and Insurance Information Institute (2021) suggest that forest fires contribute to global warming. This study focuses on examining the most recent trends of forest fire and global warming from 2018 to 2022 to evaluate whether an increase in a forest fires is directly proportional to global warming. This study will help identify the relation and better understand the relationship between forest fires and global warming.

Literature Review

Forest fires are defined as fires that spread without control or planning on vegetation, either in rural or urban areas. Forest fires are the leading cause of forest destruction in the world. In forest fires and trees and bushes, animals, houses, and natural shelters for some species are also lost. Sometimes, the soil is irreversibly damaged, and many harmful gases are emitted into the atmosphere. These gases produced by forest fires, added to others produced by the burning of fossil fuels, contribute to increasing the temperature of our planet. This article aims to determine the effects on global warming of these forest fires.

Global warming is one more phenomenon within the process of climate change that humanity faces today. Global warming is nothing more than the increase in the atmosphere's temperature, and for that reason, more heat is retained than necessary, and the Earth overheats. This process is undoubtedly the most worrying consequence of climate change that we are facing. The consequences of this phenomenon have influenced the seasons of the year, making the hot months longer and more intense and the winters shorter. Our review is directed to analyze how forest fires are directly related to these changes and vice versa (Figueiras, S,2022).

Different studies show curious data about the relationship between global warming and forest fires. There are different opinions about whether there is a reciprocal effect between both events. According to (Schauenberg, 2020), in 2019, there were 400 thousand more forest fires worldwide than in 2018. What is worse: more than three times as many hectares were burned in the same period. But this explains that global warming increases the risk of fires in forested areas. In the last ten years, almost all the most devastating mega-fires have occurred in unusually hot climates (UN Environment, 2020).

Does this mean that the cause of forest fires is climate change? Strictly speaking, the answer is no. Climate change does not produce forest fires since these do not generate spontaneously because of a drought. Climate change affects the fact that a greater amount of combustible material year after year can easily start to burn, but it is not the trigger of the fires (Castillo et al., 2019). In this regard, much literature and experts say that humans cause 90% of forest fires. The causes are known as natural usually refer to isolated events such as lightning strikes in Andean areas affected by drought, which constitute only 1% of the origin of these fires (González, et al. 2020).

This research has analyzed various sources to determine the causes and effects of forest fires on global warming. It is important to consider all the opinions about it; Citizens must be aware of the risk and take extreme precautions. The idea is to look for alternatives to the use of fire when we are in wooded environments. The genetic diversity of plants in forest areas should be cared for and stimulated. If there is an overabundance of trees, this will cause more virulent fires because fires spread more easily.

Method

A meta-analysis method was used to synthesize different results found in some reviewed studies for this study. An advanced internet search was carried out, and keywords such as "global warming," "climate change," and "forest fires" were used. Supposed to maintain updated information and reduce topics, the search was limited to research articles from the last five years, from 2018 to 2022. There was no limitation when searching literature in other languages in an attempt not to limit our research. The search provided access to multiple articles related to our topic, but only three were analyzed. A meta-analysis method was used to synthesize different results found in some reviewed studies for this study. An advanced internet search was carried out, and keywords such as "global warming," "climate change," and "forest fires" were used. Supposed to maintain updated information and reduce topics, the search was limited to research articles from the last five years, from 2018 to 2022. There was no limitation when searching literature in other languages in an attempt not to limit our research. The search provided access to multiple articles related to our topic, but only three were analyzed; the rest were discarded.

Results

The following graph tries to represent the behavior of the temperature based on the warming of our planet over a period: incorporating the main idea investigated in each article and its relationship. to the subject studied by the researcher. You can see the increase in temperature. You can see the increase in temperature in the figure below.

Chart, line chart, histogram  Description automatically generated

Discussion

The increase in forest fires is directly proportional to global warming. This study reveals that since 1880 global warming has been on an upward trend, and toward 2020, the increase in global warming was even higher. These statistical data are directly proportional to the significantly high and frequent forest fire cases in different parts of the world around the same period. The research shows that there were more cases of forest fires in 2018, 2019, and 2020 than in previous. The result from the study also shows a significant increase in global warming effect in 2020. Both forest fires and global warming have resulted in damage and destruction, which endanger natural habits. Forest fire is a contributing factor to global warming, and when forest fire increases, it increases global warming, leading to more damages that affect the world in different ways. The forest fires also cause pollution, destroy natural habits and properties, and cause death which contributes to global warming by releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The best approach to minimize the consequence of these two disasters is to prevent and minimize forest fires since taking this kind of measure will reduce the associated damage and the contribution to global warming, which also has more irreversible consequences for the people and the world. With this in mind, it is essential to conduct further studies in the future to identify how the government and the community can prevent, mitigate and effectively respond to forest fires to reduce their impact on the natural ecosystem and people.

Limitation and implication

The meta-analysis method in this study uses statistical analysis approaches to evaluate data collected from primary sources. Through this method, the researcher managed to generate a statistical estimation of the studied trends of forest fire and global warming over an extended period. This provides insightful information that shows the relationship between forest fire and global warming. Nonetheless, this study has some limitations based on using this method. For instance, if the primary data were of poor quality in this study, the result will show bias. This study's primary data-drawn collection can also lead to publication bias (Esterhuizen and Thabane, 2016). These limitations can reduce the reliability of the result in this study. However, the research can address these limitations by properly using published and scholarly sources to collect primary data.

Conclusion

Forest fires and global warming have severe and irreversible consequences on natural habits and people. The two also are directly proportional in that an increase in forest fires contributes to an increase in global warming. Both forest fire and global warming have severe and irreversible consequences. Hence, the government in different countries and the community needs to find the best ways to prevent or mitigate them as much as possible.

References

Castillo, M., Saavedra, Jorge., Brull, J. (2019). Fire severity in mega wildfires.

Shauenberg, T. (January 9, 2020). Forest fires: climate change and deforestation increase the global risk.

Congressional Research Service (2021). Wildfire Statistics. https://sgp.fas.org/crs/misc/IF10244.pdf

Insurance Information Institute (2020). Facts + Statistics: Wildfires. Iii.org. .

Doerr, S. H., & Santín, C. (2016). Global trends in wildfire and its impacts: perceptions versus realities in a changing world. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences371(1696), 20150345.

Esterhuizen, T. M., & Thabane, L. (2016). Con: Meta-analysis: some key limitations and potential solutions. Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation31(6), 882-885.

UN Environment (January 10, 2020). Are big fires parts of a new normal? .

González, M.E., Sapiains, R., Gómez-González, S., Garreaud, R., Miranda, A., Galleguillos, M., Jacques, M., Pauchard, A., Hoyos, J., Cordero, L. , Vásquez, F., Lara, A., Aldunce, P., Delgado, V., Arriagada, Ugarte, A.M., Sepúlveda, A., Farías, L., García, R., Rondanelli, R., J., Ponce, R., Vargas, F., Rojas, M., Boisier, J.P., C., Carrasco, Little, C., Osses, M., Zamorano, C., Díaz-Hormazábal, I., Ceballos, A. , Guerra, E., Moncada, M., Castillo, I. (2020). Forest fires in Chile: causes, impacts, and resilience. Climate and Resilience Science Center (CR)2, (ANID/FONDAP/15110009), 84 pp.

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