I haven’t posted for a few weeks but have been busy getting daily radiation therapy for cancer and writing every day. Texts I hope to get into shape soon.
We are in the Pyrocene age.
In the letter box, a warning. It’s been so dry tree-ferns are losing fronds and there has been bushfire smoke for over a week. And the rain starts.
This region has a subtropical climate, but with global warming it is becoming dryer around the world, Australia. Megafires are becoming more frequent and transforming ecosystems.
The CSIRO estimated that 100 entire plant populations were burnt and another 816 had more than half their area burnt in the Black summer bushfires of 2020-2021. Lead author of the study Dr Bob Godfree said: ‘The impacts of these fires was certainly unprecedented in their scale. They impacted more plant species in a single fire season since anything that’s happened since European settlement, possibly longer.’[i]
The oldest rainforest in the world, close to here, burnt, probably for the first time, and rainforest is not supposed to burn. ‘We are seeing fire going into these areas where fire is simply not meant to go.’ Mark Graham, local ecologist with the Nature Conservation Council.[ii]
Fire kills rainforests, whereas some Australian plants and trees are adapted to a certain amount of fire and even need fire to germinate seeds.
This year huge wildfires have hit Canada, California, the Mediterranean, North Africa and elsewhere. ‘Now global warming is also reshaping Europe’s pyroregions. For places where fire is a natural part of the ecosystem, climate change-driven fires can be quite different from natural fire regimes. Extreme fire seasons are becoming longer, more common and increasingly unpredictable.’[iii] Some ecosystems will never recover.
27 Saturday morning sunshine and we check the rain gauge, 95mls so far in 2 days. A great relief.
[i] Graham Readfearn, ‘More than 100 Australian plant species entirely burnt in Black Summer bushfires, study finds’, Guardian, 17 Feb 2021.
[ii] Ann Arnold, ‘Bushfires devastate rare and enchanting wildlife as ‘permanently wet’ forests burn for first time’, ABC RN Saturday Extra, 16 Nov, 2020.
[iii] Katherine Latham, ‘Wildfires The changing face of the Mediterranean landscape’, BBC, 4 August, 2023.