Commercial farming is reducing wildfires around the world

Associated Press

The amount of land burned from wildfires has decreased nearly 25% across the planet in the past two decades, according to a new study. The reason? Humans have increased the acreage on Earth dedicated to growing food, which has substantially reduced the amount of forests and natural spaces that routinely experience fires.

Why it matters: Fires are a natural part of Earth's ecosystem — they clear dead trees from forests and keep plant growth in check in grasslands. The fact that there has been such a precipitous decline in natural fires globally has important ramifications for global warming, conservation and biodiversity.