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21 May 2024

South Sudan Grapples with New Fire Incident in Unity Region
South Sudan Grapples with New Fire Incident in Unity Region

A recent fire incident in the Unity region of South Sudan has raised concerns about the ongoing challenges the country faces in managing its natural resources. According to the latest data, South Sudan has an area of over 62 million hectares, with approximately 18% covered by trees. However, the country has experienced a significant net change in tree cover, with a net gain of approximately 281,000 hectares, indicating a positive trend in tree cover change of about 1.05%.

Over the years, shifting agriculture has been the primary driver of tree cover loss, accounting for the majority of the 80,195 hectares lost. This practice has led to substantial emissions of carbon dioxide, with millions of metric tons released into the atmosphere, exacerbating the global climate crisis.

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The single fire incident reported on May 21, 2024, while seemingly minor with just one count, is a reminder of the persistent risk of wildfires in the region. It underscores the importance of sustainable land management practices to prevent further loss of tree cover and to mitigate the impact of such incidents on the environment and local communities.

The data over the past two decades reveals a complex interplay between tree cover loss and gain, with shifting agriculture remaining a consistent factor in the landscape's alteration. The trend towards a net gain in tree cover is a hopeful sign, but the ongoing incidents of fire and other disturbances highlight the need for continued vigilance and proactive measures to protect South Sudan's valuable forest resources.

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