New research shows more than 20% of Australia’s forests burned during the summer’s bushfire catastrophe, a proportion scientists believe is unprecedented globally.
Research published in a special edition of Nature Climate Change focused on the bushfire crisis finds that 21% of the total area covered by Australian forests has burnt so far in the bushfire season.
The 21% figure contrasts dramatically with the proportion of forest burnt in any season on any other continent in that timeframe, which for most continents and forest types was 5%.
The one exception was for tropical and subtropical dry broadleaf forests in Asia and Africa, for which the analysis found medians of 8% had been recorded.
The paper adds that the 21% is likely to be an underestimate because the data has not included fires in Tasmania and Australia’s fire season is still going.