30 Jun '17, 2pm

Researchers Detect a Global Drop in Fires

Across the grasslands of Asia, the tropical forests of South America, and the savannas of Africa, shifting livelihoods are leading to a significant decline in burned area. Using NASA satellites to detect fires and burn scars from space, researchers have found that an ongoing transition from nomadic cultures to settled lifestyles and intensifying agriculture has led to a steep drop in the use of fire for land clearing and an overall drop in natural and human-caused fires worldwide. Globally, the total acreage burned by fires declined 24 percent between 1998 and 2015, according to a new paper published in Science . Scientists determined that the decline in burned area was greatest in savannas and grasslands, where fires are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems and habitat conservation. The map above, based on data from the international research team, shows annual tr...

Full article: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=90493&...

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