Amazon Rainforest Fire Facts: Things To Know About The Deadly Event | Kidadl


Amazon Rainforest Fire Facts: Things To Know About The Deadly Event

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The Brazilian Amazon fires that captivated international attention in late August 2019 were a catastrophe of epic proportions for our global climate, biodiversity losses, and health.

Over the last 50 years, around 17% of the Amazonian rainforest in South America has been lost, with losses increasing significantly due to fire activity. Natural phenomena such as lightning strikes can ignite Amazon fires, but in 2019, farmers and loggers clearing land for cultivation or grazing are estimated to be to blame for the majority of the fires along with illegal deforestation and climate change.

INPE, Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, recorded more than 80,000 fires across the country as of August 29, 2019, a 77% rise year over year for the same monitoring period, including greater than 40,000 in Brazil's Authorized Amazon, which encompasses 60% of the Amazon region. During the Amazonian hot dry season in 2019, there was an increase in fires in the Amazon rainforest as well as the Amazon biome throughout Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, or even Peru compared to the previous year.

Deforestation is to blame for the overwhelming bulk of the tropical rainforest fires that are now raging across the Amazon region. The southern Amazon Basin runs dry from June to December, raising the risk of wildfires. Initial data using satellite pictures show that large areas had been burnt in the Pantanal area since the beginning of August, breaking the former fire season record set in 2005.

Amazon rainforests are extremely important for the global ecosystem and therefore it becomes extremely important to undertake efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. Scientists warn that deforestation is quickening climate change and unabated human activity poses a serious threat.

Facts About The Amazon Rainforest Fires

In the Amazon jungle, wildfires do not normally occur. Thus, for fires to blaze in a growing forest, a few factors must occur, including a dry year and several ignition sources on adjoining properties.

Runaway agricultural wildfires, which are commonly used to burn off croplands or pastures to eradicate pests, or blazes started purposely to clear land after deforestation, most of which is unlawful, are examples of these sources, which are nearly entirely human-caused. Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro publicly confirmed that the Amazon is 'is going up in flames' is false, despite the information given by his own administration indicating the proliferation of fires.

According to a fire monitoring technology financed in part by the US space agency, NASA, the whole Amazon, which encompasses nine nations, shows 28,892 active fires. Satellites identified 32,017 hotspots in the world's biggest rainforest in September, a 61% increase from the same month in 2019. The Amazon's raging fires made international headlines, prompting complaints from foreign leaders like France's Emmanuel Macron that Brazil was not performing enough to safeguard the jungle. According to data released in 2020, fires rose in August 2019 and then fell significantly the following month, while this year's high has been more prolonged. In the year 2020, both months August and September have equaled or surpassed the single-month peak of 2019.

Facts About Causes Of Amazon Rainforest Fires

Environmentalists argue that dry weather is not to be held responsible for the rapid destruction of the world's biggest tropical forest. These Amazonian wildfires are caused by loggers and livestock ranchers who clear land using a 'slash and burn' strategy.

Deforestation can result in wildfires that expand uncontrollably as a result of humans scorching vegetation. The smoke from these fires further comes into contact with clouds and the sun, reducing additional rainfall and creating dry, fire-prone situations. Some of those flames have expanded out of control as a result of the very dry circumstances. Brazil has constantly tried to protect the Amazon, dubbed the 'lungs of the world' since it supplies 20% of the planet's oxygen. Notwithstanding more severe environmental restrictions in recent times, over a fourth of this huge rainforest, the equivalent of Texas, has already vanished.

Even though changing climate threatens the Amazon by bringing hotter weather as well as prolonged droughts, the pace of development may well be the greatest threat to the jungle. Environmental scientists explain how farming, large infrastructure projects, and highways contribute to the deforestation that is slowly dying the Amazon. Land clearance for agricultural uses, primarily cattle ranching but also soybean cultivation, is a major cause of deforestation.

Farmers are compelled to remove forests illegally in order to develop pastureland because they require a large quantity of land for grazing. Land clearance for agricultural uses, primarily cattle ranching but also soybean cultivation, is a major cause of deforestation. Farmers are compelled to remove forests illegally in order to develop pastureland because they require a large quantity of land for grazing.

Approximately 12% of what was once the Amazonian forest has been converted to farming. The flames that are currently devouring enormous swathes of the Amazon are the most recent repercussion of Amazon growth. The fires, which were presumably started by farmers encouraged by their president's anti-conservation stance, produce so much smoke that they obliterated the midday sun in the metropolis of Sao Paulo, 1,700 mi (2,735 km) away, on August 20.

The flames continued to spread, despite the fact that the peak dry season was still a month ahead. As terrifying as this may sound, research says that it is not too late to preserve the Amazon. According to ecologists, tropical forests devastated by fire, logging, land clearance, and highways may be replaced.

Illegal deforestation in Brazil is posing a considerable threat to the tropical forests.

Facts About The Global Impact Of Amazon Rainforest Fires

So far, the situation with the Amazon rainforest fires is not promising. Since January 2021, more than 1,000 major fires have raged over the jungle. Experts predict that 2022 will be just as disastrous as 2020 when flames destroyed millions of acres of the world's biggest tropical forest.

Other long-term effects of eliminating Earth's most bio-diverse region are quite catastrophic. The destruction of the Amazon would result in the loss of millions of life forms and the destruction of their natural habitats.

Forest fires are blazing around the planet, from the Amazon Basin to Africa and the Boreal area, as a foreshadowing of our collective destiny. Each of these flames is significant and dangerous in its own sense. The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has also voiced grave worry about the raging fires in the Amazon jungle. In 2019, there were approximately 72,843 fires across Brazil, with more than half of them occurring in the Amazon rainforest.

This is an increment of 80% over the same period in 2018. The Amazon rainforest fires, as per scientists, might deal a significant setback to the worldwide campaign against climate catastrophe. The fire will not only cause a significant loss of trees and wildlife, but it will also emit excessive CO2 into the sky. Forest fires can emit contaminants into the air, comprising particulate matter and hazardous gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, as well as non-methane organic compounds.

The Amazon rainforest, known as the planet's lungs because it provides around 20% of the world's oxygen, is critical to slowing global warming. There are now several species of wildlife and vegetation living in the jungle. Whilst fire's direct consequence would be the changes in the temperature of the regional atmosphere, it is projected to lead to a probable drop in natural carbon in the long run.

Facts About Damage Caused By Amazon Rainforest Fires

The destruction of the Amazon has an influence on global health, from the loss of climate control services much further north of Northern California to the extinction of yet-undiscovered medications concealed in the Amazon Basin.

But none of these are more affected than the Amazon's indigenous inhabitants, the Myriad Tribes, that consider the forest homeland and are witnessing their memories, tales, and futures burn. This is incalculable. The study of the direct harm caused by contaminants emitted by flames has begun. Fires and the resulting drought have been related to respiratory difficulties, particularly in kids.

The foliage that is burnt and the wildlife that is driven from their homes are the primary victims of the fires. In the Brazilian Amazon, there are around 250 distinct tree species per 107,639 sq ft (9,999.99 sq m). Numerous insects, frogs, fungi, animals, birds, and epiphytes live on and amid the trees. The figure is not only unknown but also unfathomable.

Larger mobile animals have plenty of time to run from such slowly progressing fires. There are three options, burrow, get to water, or travel to another place. Most animals cannot just move into another's area without repercussions. When a rainforest fire burns for the first time, it destroys most tiny trees and seedlings and therefore can kill up to 50% of mature trees. High-temperature soil might cause seeds to give up their capacity to germinate. Primates, for example, may get stranded in scorched forest islands containing unburned vegetation, subsisting on leftover food until compelled to risk passage into an alien environment.

In 2019, wildfires ravaged the habitat of a newly found species, the Mura's saddleback tamarin. Others, such as litter-dwelling invertebrates, certain birds, small animals, and snakes, are commonly killed immediately by flames. The flora changes dramatically following the Amazon forest fires. Understory specialized birds that feed on leaf litter 'basically vanished', with numbers not returning 10 years after. In Bolivia, record-breaking wildfires have killed over two million wild animals, prompting scientists to fear 'irreversible' harm. 2.5 billion trees and vines got perished as a result of significant Amazon droughts and fires. The sole human casualties in the Amazon fire were Eidi and Romildo, a couple who perished from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Did You Know...

In 2021, almost 5.4 million ac (2.2 million ha) of the Brazilian Amazon was burned down.

Numerous fires are reported from across the Amazon every year. In order for the Amazon to recover, human development activities must be controlled by the authorities.

If the Amazon rainforest burns down entirely it will have a catastrophic impact on the ecology of the planet as the forest is home to numerous animal and plant species.

Brazilian farmers are burning the rainforest to clear land for farming.

As per estimates of NPR, almost 17 million animals died in the Amazon fires of 2020. The number of trees that have been burnt down has been pegged at 2.5 billion.

Hemant Oswal
Written By
Hemant Oswal

<p>With global experience in marketing and business development, Hemant is a seasoned professional with a unique perspective. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Commerce from the University of Delhi and a Master's degree in Marketing from The University of Adelaide in Australia. Hemant's work in China, Hong Kong, and Dubai has honed his skills and provided valuable experience. He broadens his understanding of the world through reading non-fiction books and watching documentaries.</p>

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