The fire is reducing Australia's iconic ecosystems


I haven't seen Australians Nothing like shrubs Now their country is suffering. Conflicts destroy landscapes and their ecosystems, transforming the continent in an irreversible way.

Bush fire should not do so. In the normal world, every so often lightning strikes the landscape, clearing out old leaves to make way for new ones. Such periodic, relatively mild fires allow many animals to escape: birds fly and trees farther away as the fire burns below the vegetation of the land. Insects and small mammals can find shelter in a shelter without having to wait for a high-rise fire.

But this is no ordinary world. Climate change has flooded these fires and transformed entire landscapes. Wildfires are moving so fast in Australia that an unknown number of animals cannot escape, even kangaroos and birds that have the opportunity. "Finding numbers is quite difficult because something like this has never happened before, especially on a scale," said Nigel Andrew, an entomologist at the University of New England, a former president of the Australian Ecological Society. “It used to be that the fires were so widespread. They did not remove entire landscapes. ”

Severe balloons have killed at least 25 people, of whom 15 million hectares have yet to be sacrificed. On the southern island of Kangaroo, Australia, half of the Koala population may have died. By one estimate, the total number of firefighters is more than a billion million mammals, birds, and reptiles, but it does not include other animals, such as insects, whose numbers may be much higher. According to one of Andrew's colleagues, there are more than 3 A trillion Insects from only one family, with gilded beetles, may have died so far. Keep in mind here: Scientists have no way of knowing exactly how many organisms have died – these are computed by subtracting species in small areas.

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We haven't known the actual damage for some time, but it's understandable: Australian fires have devastated the iconic habitats that make the continent ecological. Neither continent's rainforests, which can usually resist fire before, are protected from fires. "There will be many species that are going to become extinct because of this," says Andrew. For endangered species already on the verge of extinction, this could have been a quick blow.

Australia is a continent of fire and, as such, its organisms adapt to fire. For example, some trees are affected by fires when nutrients are introduced into the soil and fewer trees compete for light and other resources. But seeds that can withstand a typical bubble cannot withstand these urban fires. Scientists do not know which species created it before the first rains came and they could observe what was burning.

Opportunists may also be depleted of the vegetation of the landscape. Weedier species that grow faster may clap their hands, perhaps in what would become a thick forest, finer and greener. More complex invasive species could have quickly prevailed. "Many charismatic or more unique species may not have survived in their natural landscapes," says Andrew. "So this will be the biggest issue: the diversity of our natural environment is changing."

Plants also form an important link in the food chain, and once released, they also become a source of animal feed. Even if the poisonous plants survive by themselves, they may starve later. “If young people survive and their parents can't find enough food to get enough milk,” says Andrew, “then parents just leave offspring so they can't survive.

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