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[Monthly Event] Amazon Forest Fires – What can we do?

by Arjun Anand | 30-09-2019 01:15 recommendations 0

Amazon Rain Forest and their Importance                               

Trees play an important role in environmental conservation as they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Some of the most important trees in the world are found in rainforests.

A rainforest is described as tall, hot and dense forest near the equator and is believed to be the oldest living ecosystems on Earth which get the maximum amount of rainfall. The Amazon is a vast region that spans across eight rapidly developing countries. This is one of the most diverse regions on Earth. The Amazon region is a true treasure trove of the diversity of species.  It harbors an estimated 10% of global biodiversity. The Amazon is also referred to as the "lungs of the planet”.  

Each year, 7 trillion tons of water is produced in the evapotranspiration (evapotranspiration is the sum of evaporation and plant transpiration from the Earth's land and ocean surface to the atmosphere) process, responsible for water and climate control in many regions of the world. The Amazon River alone discharges 20% of the planet’s fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean.

Causes of Amazon Forest fires

The Amazon rainforest is usually wet and humid.  Typically, the Amazonian dry season runs from July to October, peaking in late September. Wetter weather during the rest of the year minimizes the risk of fires at other times. But during the dry season, blazes can spark from natural sources, like lightning strikes.

The Amazon rainforest does have a man-made fire season, and each year sees an uptick in blazes as farmers, logging companies and cattle ranchers have long used fire to clear land and make it ready for industrial and agricultural use. Cattle pastures cover 70 % of the entire deforested area. Expanding soy cultivation is pushing the cattle farmers deeper into the Amazon forest.

However, the year 2019 has seen a drastic increase in the volume of fires.  The 2019 fires were brought to the attention of the scientific and international community in July and August 2019 after the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, INPE) released statistics based on satellite observations documenting at least 75,336 wildfires burning in the country from January to August 23, 2019, with more than 40,000 within the Amazon rainforest, the highest number since data collection began in 2013.

amazon fire

Number of fires in Brazil's Amazônia Legal between January 1 and August 26 by year, reported by INPE.(Pic Courtesy:- Wikipedia)

Should we be concerned about Amazon fires?

Extremely. These forest fire are harmful because they are spewing tons of carbon dioxide every day to the environment. About three football fields worth of Amazonian trees are falling every minute!

The amazon rainforest was on fire for at least three weeks in August 2019.   This fire has undoubtedly affected the entire of the continent – Brazil and its neighbors.   The extent of this fire was so huge that it affected Sao Paulo - Brazil's largest city which is situated more than 1000 miles away. The cloud from the burning Amazon covered Sao Paulo and plunged the city into darkness for a few hours.

This chart shows the estimated remaining forest cover in the Brazilian Amazon.

forest remaining


Results of Amazon Deforestation

Forest fires and slash-and-burn practices in the Amazon basin is causing severe ecological damage and contributing to global climate change by releasing Green House Gases.  These trees take the toxins in the air and convert them to clean oxygen so we can breathe properly.

Amazon is the biggest deforestation front in the world and interventions are urgently needed to prevent a large-scale, permanent ecological catastrophe. If current trends continue, deforestation could double, meaning that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome would be without trees.  Since deforestation affects the amount of rainfall the amazon receives, it has increased the impact of droughts.

The billions of trees in the Amazon also release water vapor that form a thick mist over the rainforest canopy. It rises into clouds and produces rain, affecting weather patterns across South America and far beyond. You need a lot of trees in order to create rain. Without enough trees, the longer and more pronounced dry season could be and then the forest will eventually turn into a savannah.

If the rainfall cycle collapses, winter droughts in parts of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina could devastate agriculture.  A study conducted by a group of scientists showed that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest will raise the temperature in Brazil by 1.45 degrees.  Deforestation has also affected the indigenous people.  The native tribes of the Amazon have often been abused during the Amazon's deforestation. 

Can The Amazon Recover From Such Fires?

The wild fire affected areas in the Amazon rainforest take around 20 to 40 years to recover if it is allowed to regenerate. However, these frequent fires in the region are exposing the surviving trees vulnerable to future fires and drought.

What can be done?

Prevention is always better than cure. Hence, the first and foremost solution to protect the Amazon region is preventing the fires. This is possible only when the respective Governments take strict actions and invest in environmental protection.

While there are various organizations working to protect the Amazon deforestation at the corporate, country and political levels. I would like to focus what an individual, can do to protect amazon from further deforestation being based in their own country. I believe we should all think global and act local.

1. Reduce your beef consumption

Reducing your consumption of beef will reduce demand for it, cutting back on the pressure to clear more forests for cattle.  We must prefer local grown produce.

2.     2.  Reduce your paper and wood consumption or buy rainforest safe products

Logging companies are cutting down, some of the most endangered forests on the planet to make wood and paper products. You can help reduce the pressure on our remaining forests by taking simple steps to reduce your own wood and paper use.

3.        3. Reduce the fossil fuel consumption

Limiting our use of fossil fuels can help in reducing the pressure on earth’s natural resources.  For example: Switching to greener alternatives. 

4.     Reduce your oil consumption

The burning of oil, gas, and coal is the primary cause of climate change, a trend that is threatening the stability of the global climate.

So friends, let us raise our voices wherever possible to bring this situation to the forefront.  The Amazon is imperative to our earth and it is our duty to protect it.  

Arjun Anand Mallya 

United Arab Emirates 

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  • Arjun Anand says :
    thanks all
    Posted 19-10-2019 21:28

  • Bal krishna Pandey says :
    Congratulations and thanks for the amazing report.
    Posted 19-10-2019 13:39

Prakriti  Ghimire

  • Prakriti Ghimire says :
    Thanks for such an wonderful piece of writing.
    Keep writing and shining.
    Posted 02-10-2019 14:12

  • Meena Pandey says :
    Hello Arjun!!
    I hope you are fine and doing great.
    Thank you for such an wonderful report.

    Keep writing and shining.
    Warm Regards,
    Meena Pandey

    Posted 30-09-2019 16:47

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