Individual farms have diminished considerably in size due to land ownership reform. This re-allocating of land has led to a significant increase in the number of stock breeders and livestock.
Considered simply as bush, dry forests were cleared or cut down. Today, they cover a limited area, in scattered isolated patches.
Bushfires contribute to soil erosion and degradation of natural habitat. Fires are set by humans for various reasons :
- brushwood clearing, soil conditioning, and track clearing
- public waste tips and unauthorised rubbish dumps
Despite improvements in fire-fighting means and public information, thousands of hectares are still destroyed by fire every year especially on the West coast and in the North of New Caledonia.
Dry forests are vulnerable to bushfires since they receive little rain and are enclosed in savannah and maquis areas which burn easily.