Megafauna extinctions led to more grassland fires worldwide

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Continents that lost the most large grazing herbivores over the past 50,000 years have seen the biggest increases in grassland and savannah fires
Illustration of Bison latifrons, an extinct species of bison that lived in North America during the Pleistocene epoch Stocktrek Images, Inc. / Alamy

From the giant armadillo to the giant bison, many large plant eaters have been wiped out in the past 50,000 years. Now a study has found that the continents that lost the most of these grazing megafauna had the biggest increases in wildfires in grasslands and savannahs.

"There's evidence today that herbivores can limit fire by reducing fuel load," says Allison Karp at Yale University. In fact, some advocates of rewilding argue that restoring large herbivores can help reduce wildfires.

A few studies have already found that there were more fires in specific regions after the loss of megafauna during the past 50,000 years. Karp…
Michael Le Page
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