Australia: World heritage Queensland rainforest burned for 10 days – and almost no one noticed

Source(s): Guardian, the (UK)

By Ben Smee

Almost no one noticed when the Japoon national park caught fire – mature rainforest trees destroyed across about 250 hectares. A single story in a local newspaper, focusing on how the fire started, appears to be the only time it has been reported.


Experts and rainforest authorities say the remarkable extent of the damage, across an environment supposed to naturally suppress fires, is among the clearest evidence that climate change has shifted the paradigm in the tropics.


Last week the authority released a climate adaptation plan that acknowledged the impacts of climate change on 900,000 hectares of north Queensland tropical rainforest and its ecosystems. The authority has previously said climate change damage to the forest is as bad as coral bleaching on the reef.


The fire broke out after the forest canopy had already been damaged by two other natural disasters. During the past 15 years the area had been hit by two severe tropical cyclones – Larry and Yasi. Vines that had grown into the cyclone-damaged canopy would carry the fire from the forest floor and into the tops of the trees.


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Hazards Wildfire
Country and region Australia
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