Burning forests across the globe

The tropical forests seem to be burning at a extremely high level this year – worldwide!

In the Brazilian indigenous reserve of Arariboia is burning unstoppable since more than 4 weeks, the guardian reports here. It seems the fire was set on purpose due to the Agricultrual interests.

In Indonesia fires this year have released more CO2 than Germany’s industry. A very impressive report summarizes the research of the World Resources Institute linking the fire to palm oil plantations.

In this context: Who wants to make a beautiful map with Brazil’s public fires and protected areas? The satellite fire foci are downloadable here in shapefile format. Spatial boundaries of protected reserves are available for example here from the Ministry for Environment (MMA).

Please be invited to feel free to comment on these two reports!

Fragmentation patterns and ecosystem services

Landscape fragmentation and human-transformed forests have been subject of discussion in the comparison between land sharing and sparing, as suggested by Phalan et al. 2011. They elaborate on the ecological benefits of intensified agriculture in contrast to organic agriculture, due to its protection potential of a larger size of core forests. This view is supported by research of Gibson et al. 2011, who found that the ecological value of primary forest is far superior to any other human-transformed land cover, such as secondary forests.

However, assisting the restoration of degraded landscapes might proof to be effective, as mentioned by Jakovac et al. 2015. No data has thus far been analysed thoroughly. Another type of human-transformed forests are the selectively logged forests, and these seem to provide a rather high potential for many ecosystem services, as recently picked up by Bicknell et al. 2015. He suggests to close off logging roads as being the most effective and quick way to sustainably manage tropical forests and acquire the highest conservation value.

Contradictory to these statements, Mitchell et al. 2015 recently reframed ecosystem services in fragmented landscapes by including its accessibility to people, pointing to the possible positive effect of fragmentation. The authors urge for a better understanding of the importance of the accessibility of ecosystem services to underpin the correct decision-making activities. One of the tasks within our team will be to use the latest models in testing the above mentioned hypotheses.