Forest Fires And Soil Loss: A Threat To Biodiversity | 94837
Journal of Ecosystem & Ecography
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Society doesn???t seem to be aware of the negative effects that forest fires have on the soil, whose degradation can become irreversible
in many cases. The soil is one of the fundamental elements for life on Earth and that isn???t given due attention. In the same way, in
the studies on forest fires the action of the natural risks in territories affected by forest fires and the influence of these in the loss of
soil are little taken into account. A determining factor of plant productivity is the quality of the soil, a limited resource that is easily
destroyed, not only by the incidence of fires, but by the climatic and meteorological conditions to which the area affected by fire can
be subjected: Torrential rains, floods, droughts, extreme temperatures, strong winds that can accentuate the loss of nutrients and
erosion. According to data obtained from a survey on the perception of risk by natural phenomena carried out with the Spanish
population (n=1223), 67.54% of the respondents think that they live in an area threatened by some natural phenomenon and 73.02%
indicate that at some moment in his life, some natural disaster has occurred that has damaged the community in which he lives. In
this line, another study conducted by our research group provides us with relevant data on the frequency perception of forest fires
in Spain (n=1068), where 58.52% of the population declare to suffer the impact of forest fires each year, 5.34% every 10 years or
more and 3.46% never. Given these findings on risk perception and based on actual incidence data, it is possible to prepare, not only
forest fire risk maps, but also risk maps of natural hazards to relate them, in order to establish the potential risk of loss of soil and the
possible threat to biodiversity, based, mainly, on the observed changes in fire and natural disaster regimes.
Jaime Senabre is a Psychologist and Environmental Consultant, completed his Doctoral studies in the Department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment of the UNED. He is the Chief of Brigade in a Forest Fire Service with more than 20 years of experience. He collaborates with several companies and institutions in the area of training in psychology in emergencies and human resources. He is a Professor at the University of Valencia in masters in intervention and operational coordination in emergencies and catastrophes and other postgraduate courses on emergencies. He has published articles on forest fires, stress, psychosocial risks and emotional trauma, mainly in relation to emergency services and natural disasters. Currently, he is assigned to the Research Group on Climate and Territorial Planning at University of Alicante, where he researches on the social perception of forest fire risk and behavior in the event of possible disasters.