Substantial and increasing global losses of timber-producing forest due to wildfires

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jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pOne-third of global forest is harvested for timber, generating ~US$1.5 trillion annually. High-severity wildfires threaten this timber production. Here we combine global maps of logging activity and stand-replacing wildfires to assess how much timber-producing forest has been lost to wildfire this century, and quantify spatio-temporal changes in annual area lost. Between 2001 and 2021, 18.5–24.7 million hectares of timber-producing forest—an area the size of Great Britain—experienced stand-replacing wildfires, with extensive burning in the western USA and Canada, Siberian Russia, Brazil and Australia. Annual burned area increased significantly throughout the twenty-first century, pointing to substantial wildfire-driven timber losses under increasingly severe climate change. To meet future timber demand, producers must adopt new management strategies and emerging technologies to combat the increasing threat of wildfires.</jats:p>


Acknowledgements: C.G.B. was supported by the UK’s Natural Environment Research Council (grant number NE-S00713X-1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the paper.

37 Earth Sciences, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 15 Life on Land
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Nature Geoscience
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
RCUK | Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) (NE-S00713X-1)