As authorities are still investigating eventual causes of blazes more individuals, animals, forests and living organisms are losing their lives to the fires. When the whole country is saddened for the loss of family members, friends or amazing vacation spots, the rest of the world is still unaware of how these fires originated and much less aware of the economic consequences of these events or how they will disrupt not only Turkey’s, but the world’s ecosystem’s balance.
Until now More than 1,000 farm animals died in the fires, according to the Turkish government’s Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency, affecting hundreds of farmers and their financial stability, as well as the country’s stocks and economic state, not to mention property losses and decreased tourism, which will alter the local economic structure in the long run.
Plants remain, of course, the most affected living things in a fire, and it is tragic that our already restricted forests continue to deteriorate as a result of such terrible calamities. Moreover, 30% of Turkey’s plant diversity is already classified as endemic, and with uncontrolled fires affecting about 10% of this already small percentage, not only turkey but the world risks the extinction of some varieties.
Unfortunately, humans and plants are not the only living beings affected; the cyclic tendency and compatibility of ecosystems survival extremely difficult for a wide range of other species.
Subsequently, not only should one not remain silent in the face of Turkey’s fires, but one should not remain silent in the face of any global holocaust, and responsible authorities should start planning ahead of time to such disasters and be as fully prepared as possible to jump into action and minimize all detrimental and damaging outcomes.
Lastly, unprepared authorities are not the only ones to blame; everyone and the world as a whole should take responsibility for their actions and begin acting in a more eco- friendly manner, not only to minimize the destructive effects of fires, but also to reduce the majority of the fire-generating factors by contributing to the reduction of global warming and climate change effects, which are the primary causes of wild infernos.
How can we replace the loss of forests after wildfires?
Reforestation is the answer. As simple as it sounds, the natural and intentional restocking of existing forests and woodlands appears to be the most effective way to recover from the damage usually caused by wildfires. Reforestation can be done in two manners: natural or artificial regeneration. By letting nature take its turn and handle the revegetating itself, this is called as natural regeneration, but when you choose to bypass it and plant the site or seed it yourself, that is known as artificial re- establishment of vegetation.
The common tendency to artificial regeneration by planting seedlings not only allows us to get up to a 5 year head-up on the local vegetation that will start growing back again but also allows a species and stock selection during the planting process as some species especially bareroot ones are more susceptible and less likely to grow back not after few years after the fire. This technique also takes into consideration growing timespans of each specie and usually choosing ones with shortest growing periods and this on the contrary to natural reforestation that depends on the abundance of the seeds in the surviving species and in the soil seedbanks that remained after the burn.
Finally, as wildfires aren’t that uncommon anymore, many policies and reforestation tools were also instilled, for instance, the Post-fire Conifer Regeneration Prediction Tool (POSCRPT) that helps forest managers to identify within very few weeks after the blaze where artificial planting of seedling may be necessary and regions where natural tree regeneration would be sufficient, allowing by that more specific and effective actions on the affected sites.
Writer: Fatima Ezzahra Rekkass
Editor: Cengizhan Öztürk
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