What You Need to Know About the Amazon Wildfires
What You Need to Know About the Amazon Wildfires

The Amazon houses a diverse ecosystem

Climate change and deforestation are legitimate threats to the literally millions of species of animals and plants that reside in the Amazon and could result in a 58% decline in the richness of tree speeches here by 2050. This comes from the Nature Climate Change in a story that found a worst-case scenario would see around half of the tree species in the Amazon possibly facing extinction. The study also offered an indication that climate change could become a bigger threat to these trees than deforestation.

The world took notice of these fires

The fire devastation elicited various responses from global politicians. Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, whose country hosted the Group of Seven summit of world leaders at the time, asked countries around the world to do what they can to help in what he called an emergency. Macron has also accused Bolsonaro of reneging on commitments he made to preserve the rainforest. There has been at least a 15% deforestation of the Amazon from its primaeval state, which has led to scientists expressing concern that if it should reach 25%, there would be an insufficient amount of trees cycling water through the forest. The region would cross a tipping point and would ultimately become a savanna. This has significant consequences for the world as a whole. Vast amounts of oxygen are produced by the Amazon rainforest.

Humans aren’t helping

Wildfires are an essential and natural occurrence in a large number of ecosystems. They help plants to germinate, restore nutrients to soil, and clear out decaying brush. In more recent years, however, destruction originating from wildfires has worsened thanks to humans. Natural fire suppression has led to the accumulation of vegetation. The climate is changing due to human activity, forcing a number of forests to heat up and dry out. People are building closer and closer to areas that are ripe for ignition. And people end up igniting most wildfires, whether through arson, errant sharks, or downed power lines. The Amazon rainforest, however, which is drenched for a large part of the year, doesn’t burn naturally. The fires are instead ignited by humans. Farmers employ slash-and-burn tactics to make the land clear for pasture and farming, although it isn’t legal in Brazil at a certain time of the year because of fire risk.

Conditions were set for major fires

A recent report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals that 2019 saw the hottest July ever recorded. The next five on the list were in the last five years. This isn’t restricted to the northern hemisphere in the summer, but the entire planet. Countries and cities, such as Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, and Paris, all set temperature records. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many areas that have been recently burning have experienced extreme heat of late. Such conditions are known to exacerbate wildfires. While low moisture and high heat mean that vegetation dries out, people also play a key role.