NASA image: Fires in the Primorsky Province of Russia

April 23, 2014
This image is from NASA/Goddard, Lynn Jenner with information from the Amur Heilong River Basin Information Center supported by WWF Amur Branch. Credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team

One of the most influential ecological disturbances is fire. Fire can spread so rapidly and for such far distances that its impact on land is for the most part far greater than any other factor. Less than optimal logging practices in the Primorksy region worsen the problems of human-caused fires in this area. Abandoned fields with dry grasses provide the detritus that can fuel an out of control blaze with a single spark.

In southwest Primorsky Province dry grass has been burned for centuries. This uncontrolled method of managing agricultural areas each year turns the entire southern tip of Primorsky Province into an enormous firebed, enveloping up to 40 percent of the entire territory. As a result of the high frequency of human-caused fires, mixed forests are turning into scrub and sparse oak woods which give way to fields of grass and shrubs. The area of degradation is increasing, posing serious threats to certain species which may not be able to recover and which may become extinct.

Statistics on forest fire causes show that human activities are responsible for 94 percent of fires in this forest zone of the Russian Far East. The problem seems to be most acute in Russia, widespread in Mongolian grasslands, and common but not so detrimental in China.

Explore further: NASA image: Fires in eastern Russia—Urals and Siberia

Related Stories

NASA image: Fires in eastern Russia—Urals and Siberia

August 16, 2013

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Aqua satellite detected dozens of fires burning in eastern Russia in this satellite image captured on August 15, 2013. The fires are outlined in red. Smoke ...

NASA image: Fires in China Oct. 18, 2013

October 18, 2013

Shuangyashan is a coal mining prefecture-level city located in the eastern part Heilongjiang province, People's Republic of China, bordering Russia's Khabarovsk and Primorsky krais to the east.

79 years of monitoring demonstrates dramatic forest change

January 6, 2014

Long-term changes to forests affect biodiversity and how future fires burn. A team of scientists led by Research Ecologist Dr. Eric Knapp, from the U.S. Forest Service's Pacific Southwest Research Station, found dramatic ...

NASA image: Agricultural fires across Sierra Leone

March 25, 2014

Marked in red, hundreds of land use fires burn in the fields across Sierra Leone. Most fires in this region are deliberately set for a variety of reasons, including slash and burn agriculture. When a plot of land becomes ...

Recommended for you


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.