The world is burning!
And this is something that we all realized when news of the Amazon forest fire made it to the headlines across the world. People from different countries could only feel helpless as they say in front of the television, watching the largest tropical rainforest in the world burn in flames in 2020.
A lot of the searches that were done on the internet were related to the causes and the reasons that led to the Amazon rainforest fire. If you are someone who wants to know about every little information about the Amazon forest fire, you will find this article to be of help.
Keep reading this blog till the end to learn more about the same…
Amazon Forest Fire
A wildfire is an unplanned and unprecedented event or natural disaster. It is an uncontrolled fire that burns huge areas of grassland, prairies, or, worse, forests. According to WHO, in more than half of the cases of forest fires, the reason or cause of how they started remains unknown.
The worst case of wildfires made it to the headlines in the year 2020 when the Amazon rainforest was up in flames.
Amazon forest, which covers most of Brazil and extends up to several parts of South America, is the largest tropical rainforest in the year. It is known for its biodiversity, which includes evergreen trees, thousands of different species of animals, and the massive Amazon river.
With the climate change that has been making the situation of the world worse day by day, wildfire happens to be one of the most critical results of the same. According to reports, more than 7 million hectares of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest had burned by the end of 2019. However, in 2020, with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, things went out of hand.
Keep reading to learn more about the Amazon forest fire…
Causes Of Amazon Forest Fire
Fires in the Amazon are nothing new. However, it is important to know that the fires are not only because of a natural phenomenon. While some of these occur naturally, most of them are because of unethical and unchecked human practices. Images of the Amazon forest fire from space has left people speechless.
According to studies done on the causes of forest fires and the intensity with they are increasing, it is stated that “regional factors such as deforestation, incorrect ignition and use of fire, absence of or inadequate landscape management strategies, vegetation encroachment, increased need of fire as a management tool, and release of greenhouse gases which, in turn, contributes to climate change as key factors behind extreme wildfire seasons.”
In other words, most of the forest fires that have made it to the headlines in the recent years are the res humans.
While many may try to counter this argument stating that most of the forest fires occur due to the extremely hot weather of the region, it is important to understand that most parts of the Amazon rainforest are over swampy grounds.
Naturally occurring forest fires, that too of such high intensity and scale, are highly unlikely in areas that are predominantly swampy. This means that the fires in amazon do not occur naturally. Rather, people often intentionally set up the forested areas on fire.
You might be thinking, why is it so? Keep reading to learn the reasons…
Act Of Destructive And Unethical Economic Development
Well, the answer is deep-seated in the model of destructive economic development, which the people in the area has been practicing for a while now.
According to the survey by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute, we can see that “between 1997 and 2020, a total of 21 million hectares were destroyed,” and cattle pastures occupy nearly “75% of what was deforested in the Amazon’s non-allocated public lands.”
The study also states that the cattle which are raised in these pasture fields are “sold to other farms and, sooner or later, invariably end up in a slaughterhouse.” In other words, people from the corporate and industrial world has intentional set major parts of the Brazilian Amazon on fire in order to meet the demands of the agro-based companies.
Patrick Roehrdanz, a scientist at Conservation International, mentioned in an interview that there is a link between forest fire and deforestation. He states:
“Fires are not a natural part of the Amazon ecosystem. They are often set by people to expand soy farms or rangelands for cattle. If enough trees are lost, the forest could lose its ability to generate rainfall — making the region drier and more likely to catch fire. Our data shows that the cumulative impacts are mounting for individual Amazonian species, further destabilizing the region’s ecology.”
Impact On Climate And Human Health
Fire emits harmful and toxic gasses. This is something that we all know. Now, imagine a vast area, as big as the Amazon rainforest, burning in flames!
Between January and August 2020, several organizations registered more than 44,013 outbreaks of wildfire in the Pantanal and Amazonas. On 22 August 2022, “3,358 fires were detected in the Brazilian Amazon,” which was the “highest number of fires recorded for any 24-hour period since 2007.”
Considering that the Amazon Rainforest is one of the largest and the most important biomes of the world, it is vital to the health and climate of the planet Earth. It plays a massive role in regulating the global as well as the regional climate.
The rainforest area is also important for being the storehouse of large amounts of carbon in the environment. Thus, cutting down or burning of the forest reserves releases a lot of carbon into the atmosphere. This, in turn, contributes to global warming.
According to the World Health Organization, the smoke from wildfires “is a mixture of air pollutants of which particulate matter is the principal public health threat.”
When it comes to wildfires, there are a number of ways in which the gasses affect the health of the people. Some of them, according to WHO, are:
- Irritation of the lungs, throat, eyes, and nose.
- Increase in cardiovascular and other heart diseases
- Increase of lung diseases, pulmonary inflammation, exacerbations of bronchitis, and asthma.
Apart from these, the release of a high amount of mercury into the air also has severe effects on human health. It might lead to:
- Muscle weakness
- Vision problems
- Impairment of speech
- Hearing and walking impairment.
Animals Lost In Amazon Forest Fire
We all heard the news of the Amazon forest fire. However, did you know that nearly 17 million animals lost their lives in this wildfire?
One out of every ten species of the world has its habitat in the Amazon rainforest. The devastating Amazon forest fire of 2019 and 2020 resulted in the death of a large part of the fauna.
According to studies, “16.952 million vertebrates were killed immediately by the fires in the Pantanal, demonstrating the impact of such an event in wet savanna ecosystems.” A total of 17 million animals, including invertebrates, reptiles, birds, and several other primates, died in the forest fire.
While the forest firefighters tried to save several endangered species, like the jaguar, to name one, not all of them were that lucky!
Wrapping It Up!
In case you were in search of information related to the Amazon forest fire, I hope that this blog has been of help to you. If there are any other queries related to the same, feel free to let me know by sharing your comments in the box below.