“The recent bushfires in Western Australia were much more than “bush” fires as they raged through mature crops of wheat, barley, canola and oats, and pastures where many thousands of sheep grazed. The fires claimed four lives and the livelihoods of many farmers as the estimated financial losses of crops and farm animals reached A$60m – a figure expected to rise steeply as the full extent of the damage emerged. One report showed a loss of 15,000 sheep and many cattle. The fires swept eastwards and in South Australia additional fires caused more deaths of people and farm animals and burned through vast areas of mature crops and grazing lands.”
GR: This story is about food for humans. The more important issue is the long-term effects of the fires. Followed by invasive plants and soil erosion, fires are transforming vast stretches of native vegetation into weedlands. The damage to soils, native plants, and wildlife diminishes the diversity and health of ecosystems and reduces productivity and carrying capacity.