Area of action
Open biomass burning
Globally, open biomass burning is a significant source of black carbon emissions (Klimont et al. 2017). A large part of open burning has occurred in Africa. Overall, the burning appears to have declined since the 1990s (van Marle et al. 2017), but the global earth observatory shows that quite extensive burning still occurs in areas close to the Arctic.
Mitigate open biomass burning on croplandView Action
Reducing/managing risks of wildfires on forest and peatlandView Action
The burning that takes place on cropland is anthropogenic, whereas wildfires in forests, shrubland or on peatland most often are caused by natural phenomena (such as lightning). Nonetheless, a significant number of wildfires may be caused by direct anthropogenic impact – careless handling of fire, overheated machinery, or uncontrolled spread of fire from agricultural burning. Climate change is projected to increase the risk of wildfires also in the tundra and taiga regions (Sun et al. 2020, Sun et al. 2019). Except for SLCFs, wildfires typically also emit large proportions of potentially cooling components (AMAP 2015). Prescribed burning is another type of biomass burning carried out to reduce fire load in forests or as a special management action to maintain specific fire dependent ecosystems in areas where effective fire control eliminated wildfires.
In its 2019 report the EGBCM recognised open biomass burning as an issue to be tackled in efforts to reduce black carbon emissions and recommended to “develop agricultural policies and practices to reduce open burning of agricultural waste. Encourage studies and piloting of innovative solutions that reduce the need for open burning” (Arctic Council 2019). The need to reduce wildfires was also stressed.
There are two actions identified within this area of action; they differ depending on the underlying causes. The management of croplands is subject to regular and strong policy interventions whereas wildfires are only partly manageable through policy interventions.