Nature & Environment
'Hidden' fires burning in Amazon rainforest
By T.K. Randall
June 14, 2013 · 14 comments
Image Credit: sxc.hu
Wildfires beneath the jungle canopy are proving more destructive than human deforestation.
Previously undetectable below the trees, the extent of the fires has only now been revealed thanks to a new satellite imaging technique. Unlike fires that sweep across the Amazon's grassy areas, the 'understory' wildfires can burn undetected and cause massive damage. Between 1999 and 2010 it is believed that 33,000 square miles of forest was burned in this way, an area larger that the State of South Carolina.
"Amazon forests are quite vulnerable to fire, given the frequency of ignitions for deforestation and land management at the forest frontier, but we've never known the regional extent or frequency of these understory fires," said researcher Doug Morton.
A new satellite imaging technique has allowed scientists to see Amazonian fires burning beneath the jungle canopy, called "understory fires," which were previously difficult to detect.
Source: Live Science
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