Both total area burned by wildfires globally and the associated CO2 emissions have decreased since the 1930s as population density and cropland area have increased. Researchers quantified the effects of increasing cropland area and population density on wildfires between 1850 and 2014, and the associated impact on carbon uptake by land. They found that reduced wildfire CO2emissions that result from fire suppression and landscape fragmentation associated with increasing population density have enhanced carbon uptake by land by 130 million tonnes per year between 1960 and 2009.

Original paper published April 17, 2018

Corresponding author: Vivek Arora, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Victoria –