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Friday, March 22, 2019

Experts warn of the dangers that threaten the forests of the Canary Islands

Pine forests on Tenerife

On the occasion of the International Day of Forests held yesterday, 21 March, around the world, professional groups and associations linked to the care of the forests of the Canary Islands have produced a manifesto to warn of the danger to the forests of the islands as a result of climate change. The global climate changes are producing major increases in temperatures in the islands, less precipitation and more stormy episodes, as well as a decrease in the trade winds and increase in heat.

They add that all this causes much more difficult conditions for certain types of vegetation and an increase in forest fires in the archipelago, as well as aggravates the ecological disasters of autumn storms, which affect both vegetation and people and infrastructure.

The document points out that climate change is altering the behavior of fire in forest fires, exceeding the capacity of prediction models and making it difficult to extinguish them.

More than 36,000 hectares were destroyed during the forest fires of 2007 (ED: I was among the 11,000 evacuated), which caused the greatest forest loss in recent history. Other traumatic episodes, such as the fire of the Garajonay National Park (La Gomera) in 2012, the large forest fires of 2013, which affected several islands at once, the fire on the summits of Gran Canaria in 2017, or the recent fire of Garafía, in La Palma, in February 2019, are dangerous antecedents that reveal the magnitude of the degradation process reached by our ecosystems.

Experts warn that the islands face serious desertification risks that especially affect the forest heritage and add that the current economic situation is decimating forest investments and focusing resources on extinction, ignoring prevention, which is the fundamental pillar of forest conservation. "The increase in technical means (planes, helicopters, qualified personnel, etc.) will not be enough to prevent the next big forest fire," they say.

Consequently, they propose better management of the changes that forest systems are undergoing; increase their surface area, enhance their genetic diversity and the interactions that trees generate in ecosystems. This strategy would also make forests a source of employment and well-being for rural populations and it would also make it possible to reverse deforestation and recover a good part of the forest landscapes that the islands had before colonization.

Los expertos advierten de los peligros que acechan a los bosques de Canarias

Image by Frank Nürnberger from Pixabay

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