Monday, March 2, 2009

Annual forest burns are a bad idea...

This week, an emergency meeting was called among province leaders in northern Thailand to discuss the issue of forest fires in the mountains. The AQI (Air Quality Index) for the past week has been well above dangerous levels. People living in the mountains burn routinely for a number of reasons, including clearing land for planting crops and creating good conditions for mushroom growth. A few reasons why annual burning of the forest is a bad idea:
  • Kills tree seedlings
  • Kills underbrush that is an important food source for animals
  • Wicks moisture out of the area and creates very dry forest ecosystems where only certain types of trees can survive (loss of diversity)
  • Causes respiratory problems
  • Decaying organic material does not build up as hummus on the forest floor to provide nutrients for plants
  • Exposed soil runs off into streams

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