Without a better global effort to prevent and cope with forest fires, the remaining wild forests' resources of the world are at risk. Quite apart from the present loss of commercial timber and species habitat, and the present problems of flooding and erosion in the aftermath of fires, the loss of these wooded lands will reduce the capacity of regions to absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, thereby making the challenge of managing emissions of greenhouse gases all the more problematic. Forests sequester carbon in their woody tissue as a result of photosynthesis, and are often termed the “lungs” of the Earth. The recurring forest fire events put much more at stake than just the apparently transient and dramatic event of the fire itself. How does, or should, the law attend to this situation?
Nicholas A. Robinson, Forest Fires As A Common International Concern: Precedents for the Progressive Development of International Environmental Law, 18 Pace Envtl. L. Rev. 459 (2001), http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/375/.