Groenlandia, la tundra incendiata, di Marco Marrosu

Monitoring in Greenland along the Arctic Circle Trail: Escaping from the fire!

The alarm of the hikers and tracking along the Arctic Circe Trail in Greenland, what a strange life! The hiking trail, also known as A.C.T. or Polar Route, spread for about 170 km in an uninhabited area of the western part of Greenland. The trail path one of the most famous and beautiful in the world and it normally lasts around 9 days. It is an incredible attraction for the government of Greenland, which has started to look at ecotourism only recently, partly following the rapid retreat of the ice. Through this exclusive, trail you cross the most ancient areas of Earth, with rocks dating between 1.6 and 4 billion years.

One of the main caretakers and maintainers of this incredible trail is Frieder Weisse from Germany. She explains that droughts have increased with climate change and fires happen more often now, which in the tundra, produce incredible damage. In fact, soil without vegetation is easily diluted.
So there I was, on her request, making ground surveys and monitoring the area. I moved around and I walked along the path, immersed in the most complete silence, crossing hills completely burnt.

Only three days before I met some Hungarian hikers, that had to flee in front of the fire, risking suffocation for the smoke. Their escape lasted 3 days.
The hills are brown and, despite the fact that 6 days passed since the last fire, in some areas the ground was still hot with smoke.
The last rains diluted the ground causing landslides in some cases and others reducing the surface in a more or less dense muddy soil mixed with water. Nonetheless, some perennial herbs have managed to resist heat and are already trying to peep and return to new life. These herbs are, together with an environmental consciousness, the proof and hope for the endurance of life and the restoration of this incredible place on Earth.

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