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Bushfires in Australia’s Gondwana rainforests destroy areas that have historically been too wet to burn

The Guardian reports:

The Unesco world heritage centre has expressed concern about bushfire damage to the Gondwana rainforests of northern New South Wales and southern Queensland, and asked the Australian government whether it is affecting their world heritage values.

In a statement on its website, the centre said members of the media and civil society had asked about the bushfires affecting the areas inscribed on the world heritage list as the “Gondwana rainforests of Australia”. The forests are considered a living link to the vegetation that covered the southern supercontinent Gondwana before it broke up about 180m years ago.

“The World Heritage Centre is currently verifying the information with the Australian authorities, in particular regarding the potential impact of the fires on the outstanding universal value of the property,” the statement says.

“The centre has been closely following-up on this matter and stands ready to provide any technical assistance at the request of Australian authorities.”

Scientists say the bushfires this spring have been unprecedented, in part because they have destroyed areas that have historically been too wet to burn. The affected area includes parts of the major remaining rainforest areas in south-east Queensland and north-east NSW, which are listed as one world heritage site. [Continue reading…]

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