Will this year’s El Niño drought turn into an eco-catastrophe? In an article published today, ALERT's Susan and Bill Laurance say there are lots of danger signs already:
- because of its exceptional intensity, NASA experts have already labeled this drought "Godzilla", arguing it could be the strongest El Niño in living memory
- previous mega-droughts driven by El Niño have degraded large expanses of the Amazon, with a single fire consuming over three million hectares of drought-choked rainforest, farmlands, and indigenous territories in 1997-98
- fires spurred by past mega-droughts have rampaged across Indonesia and burned huge expanses of Borneo
- in New Guinea, the frequency of wildfires has already risen dramatically in recent months, currently running at about triple the rate of previous years
- rapidly expanding land-use changes, such as habitat fragmentation and logging, are making ecosystems far more vulnerable to droughts and fire
- as new roads proliferate almost everywhere, so do the number of human-caused ignition sources, greatly increasing fire risk
The article on the "Godzilla drought" -- which you can access here -- argues that we must take urgent action if we're to avoid battling a fire-breathing monster.