Climate change to increase forest fire danger in Europe

This article posts during GLF 2014. See in English | Espanol

9626387257_a8a21f7226_zPhoto: Jarle Refsnes/Flickr

The connection between the changing climate and the world’s forests will be a key theme at the Global Landscape Forum during the UNFCCC COP 20 in Lima on 6-7 December this year. Timely enough, new research now supports a link between climate change and forest fires.

Climate change is expected to contribute to a dramatic increase in forest fire damage in Europe, but better forest management could mitigate the problem, it says in a press release from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). According to the IIASA, the study was the first to examine adaptation to forest fire danger on a pan-European scale.

The researchers found that increased temperatures and longer droughts, as a likely consequence of climate change, will make forests more susceptible to fires.

 By 2090, the area burned by forest fires in the European Union could increase by 200 percent, states the study published in the journal Regional Environmental Change. However, preventive fires could keep that increase at below 50 percent. An improved firefighting response could provide additional protection against forest fires.