Devastation in the Amazon
Throughout the month of August the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest faced thousands of fires that affected many plants, animals, and their ecosystems in the process. The Amazon Rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and contains 10% of the world’s biodiversity and 15% of its freshwater. In addition to that, it also contains 10% of earth’s animal population. With all that said, by the end of August there were 41, 858 fires which destroyed a portion of these vital aspects of the world. Compared to 2018, there has been an 84% increase in fires in the Amazon Rainforest.
August is commonly known as a dry season for the rainforest so some fires are to be expected during that time. However, the amount that did occur was not anticipated and very upsetting for the community. The fires did not destroy as many ecosystems as it could have, though, because the fires happened after the areas were illegally cleared out for agriculture and mining. The primary cause for all of these fires is a mixture of climate change and deforestation which is a dangerous combination. With the amount of fires increasing, global warming becomes worse, due to more exposure to carbon. The immediate effects will be an even drier season than foreseen including reduced rainfall.
The rainforest contributes a major role to the greenhouse effect because through natural conditions the plants remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and absorb it through photosynthesis which creates this process that provides oxygen and carbon. These elements are what allows the plants to prosper. Now, when the trees burn, the carbon is released as carbon dioxide and pollutes the air, rather than help it. According to The Verge, these fires can bring a massive change to the rainforests. These rainforests have a chance of becoming dry wastelands and trapping carbon dioxide into the air. The Verge says, “the consequences are often devastating because the ecosystem has evolved for millions of years without fire.” It is no doubt that the aftermath of these fires will be long lasting.
There is not much that can be done, but save the remaining 80% of the Amazon Rainforest. Panda.org states, “it is the only rainforest that we have left in terms of size and diversity.” Brazil is trying their best to calm their people and fix the deforestation problem. President Jair Bolsonaro and his administration signed a 60 day national official order on August 28th, that prohibits people to light up the forests. Many people, however, believe that this will not be helpful for the forests because it not taking direct action. Ecologist Jos Barlow tells The Verge, “I’m frustrated because I know that actions could be taken to actually make the lives of local Amazonians better.” He says this referring to after the 2005 period of deforestation and the decrease in fires for the following 13years.