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Stop the Harmful Forms of Prescribed Burnings!

The international public campaign of the International Socio-Ecological Union

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Destructive Forms of Prescribed (and other Intentional) Burning

Definition of the "harmful forms of prescribed burning" according to the position of the Campaign

 

Based on the negative characteristics of intentional burning listed in the position of the campaign, the harmful forms of prescribed burning (as well as other intentional burning) can be defined as a phenomenon of massive intentional multiyear ECOCIDE, which leads to degradation of natural ecosystems, destruction of functionality of these ecosystems, disruption of the possibility of decomposition of plant litter (and other dead organic matter) in the burned natural territories, as well as to the loss of biodiversity both in the burnt natural territories and on the whole planet.

 

REFERENCE. By analogy with the definition of the notion GENOCIDE, Ecocide can be defined as a form of collective action committed with the intention to completely or partially destroy any biological species of organisms or habitat for species of organisms. The United Nations has been recognized genocide as an international crime since 1948. What happens as a result of mass frequent prescribed burning within natural areas (which cause the destruction of grass cover, dry wood, plant litter and the top layer of soil by fire) fully corresponds to this definition of Ecocide. Other definitions of Ecocide, which also correspond to such types of prescribed burns, are given in the Appendix 1.

 

The considered list of negative characteristics of intentional burning allow to conclude that most of prescribed burns implemented in the world (and other types of intentional burning) are catastrophically destructive for natural ecosystems, soils, climate and biodiversity. We have called all such burns the “harmful forms of prescribed burning”, and we gave them the following definition:

 

The harmful forms of prescribed burnings (and other types of intentional burnings) – are the periodical burns inside natural lands (forest, shrub, grass or mixed plant communities) with a frequency that significantly exceeds the natural frequency of wildfires inherent to the burnt territory (that is, the period of time between wildfires that would occur in this area without human influence). We define this form of burnings as a phenomenon of massive intentional multiyear ECOCIDE, which leads to degradation of natural ecosystems, destruction of functionality of these ecosystems, disruption of the possibility of decomposition of plant litter (and other dead organic matter) in the burnt natural lands, as well as to the loss of biodiversity in the burnt regions or on the whole planet..

We included in the definition of the “harmful forms of prescribed burning” only the interval between burnings and did not included in this definition other negative characteristics of prescribed burns discussed in this section. We did this for the reason that this negative factor (exceeding the interval between burnings the natural frequency of wildfires) is the most obvious and common; it is present in most or even all regular prescribed burnings which were implemented in the world until these days. We also believe that this negative factor is the minimum and sufficient condition that determines all such burnings as a factor that causes catastrophic damage to natural ecosystems and their biodiversity.

 

Why is the burning interval so important?

Wildfires that start from natural reasons are a natural, normal factor for many native ecosystems. The most common natural reason for a wildfire is a dry thunderstorm (at the same time, which happens during a fairly dry period of the year, the dryness of vegetation allows the resulting ignition to grow to a big wildfire). A rarer cause of a wildfire is a volcanic eruption, an even rarer one - is a meteorite fall. There are no other natural reasons for wildfires.

When wildfires occur in a region with a natural frequency the biota of natural ecosystems (flora, fauna, and microorganisms) has time to recover, and wildfires do not become a catastrophe, i.e. a phenomenon that leads to sustainable degradation of the burnt ecosystems, to the disappearance of their native species. According to this, the natural interval between wildfires (different for each geographical area) is the norm, a natural phenomenon to which the ecosystem has adapted. Thus, this norm (the natural interval between wildfires) should be given to prescribed burnings in this region to make their effect on ecosystems not catastrophically destructive. But this is exactly what does not happen, because most of the regular prescribed burns in the world (or all such burns) are carried out much more often than wildfires would take place in this area by natural reasons without human influence (the justification for this statement is given above in the section “Negative Characteristic № 2”).

 

 

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