As we all know, the world has been observing the alarming reports concerning the Amazon that is burning for several weeks now. Heads of state, celebrities and thousands of users publish photos on social media of burning forests and appeal to stop the slaughter of the “lungs of the earth”. Did the fires in Brazil take on an unprecedented scale this year and will it be the worst year in history for deforestation in the Amazon? We are not going to write this time about tourism. Amazon is burning and letâ€™s learn important facts about it.
Amazon is the largest remaining rainforest in the world.
It is also the largest carbon dioxide absorber, absorbing over 2 billion tons of this substance per year and releasing about 20 percent of the Earth’s oxygen.Â
The intensive exploitation of the Amazon began at the end of the 1960s. It was connected, among other things, with building new roads and enabling the use of this previously inaccessible area for economic reasons. Mines started to be built and trees were cut, thus gaining more land for cattle, palm and soybean farming. The process of clearing the land from trees (also by burning the areas) and reselling it at a much higher price is still ongoing.
Preliminary data from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) shows that 1698 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest were destroyed in August. This is the worst August in five years – since the systematic satellite monitoring of the degradation of the forest has been conducted. It is also over 222 percent more than in August 2018. Recently, the result exceeding 1000 square kilometers was recorded in August 2016.
The INPE report announced in Brasilia shows that more than half of the 71 497 forest fires recorded in the country from January to August this year were located in the Brazilian Amazon. The number of fires is also 83 percent higher than in the same period in 2018.
The researchers from INPE emphasize that there were no significant anomalies associated with climate change that could be blamed for this situation. Instead, they point that it is the responsibility of the people who want to convert forest areas into fields under cultivation or for other investments.
On Thursday, August 29, the Brazilian government introduced 60 days ban on burning the land of the geographical area of the Amazon due to forest fires. From this point to August 31, INPE recorded 2000 new fires. The ban did not change anything and the situation is getting worse – the number of fires in the Amazon is still growing. INPE satellite data confirms 3,859 new fire outbreaks and around 2000 are concentrated in the Amazon region.
There have been numerous appeals to take the fire of the “green lungs of the world” seriously. Some of you might have seen the #PrayForAmazonia tag on Twitter. Residents from SÃ£o Paulo used it while showing photos of the smoke from burning forests dimming the sun rays for a moment around 3 pm. Have you seen the photos?Â