Humans to be blamed for Amazon Rainforest Fires, environmentalists say

Amazon Rainforest Fires

Environmentalists and Researchers say that the fires in the Brazilian Rainforest were set up by the cattle ranchers and lumberjacks who want to clear and utilize the land, animated by the country’s pro-business President Jair Bolsonaro.

Christian Poirier, the program director of non-profit organization Amazon Watch said: “The vast majority of these fires are human-lit,”. He added that even during dry seasons, the Amazon — a humid rainforest — doesn’t catch on fire easily, unlike the dry bushland in California or Australia.

The northern states of Brazil — Roraima, Acre, Rondônia, and Amazonas have been particularly badly affected and the Brazilian government says that they lack resources to stop the flaming.

A satellite image from NASA shows the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil in August 2019.
A satellite image from NASA shows the fires raging in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil in August 2019.

Why Amazon Rainforest matters?

The Amazon forest generates around 20% of the world’s oxygen and is often called “Lungs of the Planet” because it plays a vital role in carbon storage on the planet and the satellite data published by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows an increase of more than 80% in the fires than the last year.

The Amazon Rainforest is home to about three million species of plants and animals and one million native peoples in South America.

The most dangerous effect of this fires is that if it is irrevocably damaged, it could start emitting carbon instead which is the major driver of climate change according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Environmental Minister of Brazil, Ricardo Salles, tweeted on Wednesday that the fires were caused by dry weather, wind, and heat, but the researchers say that the fires are “definitely human-induced,” and this can’t be ascribed to natural causes like lightning strikes.

Active fires in Brazil
Active fires in Brazil (source: BBC)

Brazil is not the only country in South America that has seen the number of Amazon region fires increased.

CountryFiresChange in %
Brazil75,300+85%
Venezuela26,500+19%
Bolivia17,200+114%
Colombia14,200-13%
Peru5,680+104%
Guyana890+145%
Ecuador290-56%
Suriname160+128%
French Guyana11+120%

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