Forest fires are a situation that nature has faced for millions of years. Thousands of hectares of forest areas in Turkey and around the world are being destroyed by fires for various reasons.
The forest fire in the Australian continent, which started in June 2019, caused great sadness all over the world, with the loss of forests and damaged animals shared on social media. Support messages and fire extinguishing equipment were sent by many countries, but this forest fire was extinguished months later.
During the dozens of forest fires that took place on the Mediterranean and Aegean coasts of Turkey in the past months, aid messages and equipment were mobilized from many countries, just like in Australia. While it took a long time to get the fires under control, many animals and forests were damaged. So what should we do like humans after these forest fires?
Turkey forest fires
After many forest fires in late July, Turkey reacted quickly to lick its wounds. Many famous names, companies, and business people mobilized for sapling donations. However, it is very inconvenient to plant trees that are damaged by a well-known false fire and to plant fire-resistant trees that are not part of the ecosystem.
Planting saplings is a reflex to heal wounds as soon as possible. However, states that planting new types of trees will lead to genetic pollution. It is also stated that biodiversity will suffer more from fire with this afforestation. The most necessary precaution is to leave nature alone. It is necessary to consider afforestation only in places where there is no vegetation.
Faced with forest fires for 420 million years
Although it is not valid for every forest, it seems that Mediterranean forests have taken their precautions against fire as a result of adaptations. Fires have had an impact on ecosystems long before humans even existed. Current evidence puts the date of the first vegetation fires on Earth to around 420 million years ago. Thanks to this protective attitude of nature, forests are greening up again.
Pine forests and maquis in the Mediterranean are developing adaptations to fire. Nature has developed methods to recover itself after a fire. Of course, these methods also differ among species.
Red pine species can regenerate themselves. The reason for this is that the pine cones and seeds are not damaged by the fire. After the fire, the seeds in the cones fall into the ash, and these seeds germinate in the spring following the fire, and tens of seedlings are equivalent to each square meter of the burned area.
According to the statements of experts, the upper parts of the maquis bushes are on fire. The underground remains alive. These seeds, called underground storage organs, continue to live and shoot two months after the fire. The seeds of some species protect themselves and are only stimulated at a certain temperature and by the effect of smoke, and then they start to turn green.
HUMANITY must wait patiently
The formation of trees or planting saplings does not mean “ecosystem formation”. While it takes 20-25 years for the tree to reach 10 meters, it may take 50-60 years for the red pine ecosystem to form. However, it may take 100 years for animals to come back to this region and some tree species to be seen again.
In this process, humanity has to wait patiently, to oppose the development of burning lands and not to destroy nature with wrong planting methods. Even though the forest fires are burning the lungs of everyone in the world, the best solution is to let nature flow.
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