Have you ever visited the lush Indonesian rainforest? If not, you may never get to do it.
The rainforest nestled within Indonesia comprises the third largest rainforest region in the world-it’s a big deal. And we, with the help of global warming, are burning it.
The study on fire in the forests of Sumatra and Borneo, Indonesia, has analyzed the past 50 years of records of visibility at local airports and came up with the aforementioned and very depressing results. Drought years turned the area from fire-resistant to fire-prone, Robert Field, an atmospheric physicist from the University of Toronto told the New Scientist. And during fires, the burning of peat in the swamps beneath the forests can (a) burn for months at a time and (b) releases more smoke and carbon dioxide than anything else.
“Land managers respond to the drought by using fire to clear more land. In dry years, they burn deeper into the forest, which in turn releases more carbon dioxide,” James Randerson, UC Irvine climate scientist, said about another recent study.
“The abrupt transition can be attributed to rapid increases in deforestation and population growth,” Field said.
The worst offender, deforestation, of course, is to make room for farming-hey, another reason to go hardcore vegetarian, if you needed one. Another exacerbating factor has been the nefarious El Niño storms in the Pacific, all the way since 1960.
Randerson says his study’s findings point to the imperative need to include limits on deforestation in future climate agreements, that climate and land use should not, as it usually is, be considered separately from each other when calculating how changes will affect harmful gas emissions and thus global warming.
Say bye bye to the Indonesian rainforest.
As a nature lover, this comes as obviously dismal news. I feel worst for the fauna inhabiting the area. Despite the mosquitoes and my allergy to certain bug bites, e.g. spiders, which make my eyelids swell up and barely let me see, I heartily enjoy spending time amidst trees and shrubs, flowers and fresh soil. I guess I’ll never get to lie on the ground and stare up at the sunny sky through the trees in the rainforest of Indonesia, though.